Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Small's Paradise

1964 Helen Frankenthaler Born: New York, New York 1928 Died: Darien, Connecticut 2011 acrylic on canvas 100 x 93 5/8 in. (254.0 x 237.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of George L. Erion 1967.121 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, North Wing

Gallery Label

Helen Frankenthaler's breakthrough as an abstract painter came when she discovered that acrylic paint thinned with turpentine and poured on raw canvas produced rich colors and random forms. She said she titled her works according to images that seemed "to come out of the pictures." When a shape that struck her as "Persian" emerged on the canvas, Frankenthaler apparently thought of the word "paradise," derived from the Persian, pairi diz, for walled enclosure or garden. She had been to Small's Paradise, a New York City night club, not long before, and when she put associations together, the painting became an emblem of a particular moment in her life.




paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas