<h1 class="page"><I>JACOB'S LADDER</I></h1> <div id="content" class="clearfix"> <div class="left" id="theme-sidebar"> <h2>Related themes</h2> <hr/> <div class="subtheme-container clearfix"> <div class="subtheme clearfix"> <div> <img src="https://www.moma.org/wp/moma_learning/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/82_1960_CCCR-01-50x50.jpg" width="50" height="50" /> <h3>The Processes and Materials of Abstract Expressionist Painting</h3> <p>Discover the innovative tecniques of Abstract Expressionist painters</p> </div> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/themes/abstract-expressionism/the-processes-and-materials-of-abstract-expressionist-painting"></a> </div> </div> <hr/> </div> <div class="left object" id="theme-content"> <!-- start featured boxes --> <div id="image-highlight"> <div class="inner-box"> <div class="clearfix"> <div class="content-box left"> <h2 id="data-arttitle"><i>Jacob's Ladder</i></h2> <p><span id="data-artist"><a href="/learn/moma_learning/artists#helen_frankenthaler">Helen Frankenthaler</a></span><br/><span id="data-artistinfo">(American, 1928&ndash;2011)</span></p> <p id="data-description">1957. Oil on canvas, 9' 5 3/8&quot; x 69 7/8&quot; (287.9 x 177.5 cm)</p> <!--<div class="reference"></div>--> </div> <div id="image-gallery" class="image-gallery"> <div class="gallery-main multi-images"> <div class="vertical-aligner" id="vertical-aligner"> <img src="https://www.moma.org/wp/moma_learning/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/82_1960_CCCR-01-242x395.jpg"/> </div> <!--<div class="multiBoxDesc mb13 mbHidden">html element</div>--> <!--<a href="#object-explore" id="mb13" class="mb" rel="type:element">HTML element</a><br/>--> <a href="http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=78722" id="collection-link" class="text caption">See this work in MoMA’s Online Collection</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="content-box bigpad"> <p>Frankenthaler&#8217;s works are large in scale and often feature expansive areas of <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#paint">paint</a>. The artist developed a <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#painting">painting</a> technique in which she thinned <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#pigment">pigments</a> with turpentine so that they soaked through and stained the unprimed <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#canvas">canvas</a> instead of resting on the surface. The images and colors then become embedded in the fabric of the canvas, making the paintings resemble giant watercolors.</p> <p>While she rarely discussed whether her abstract compositions had <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#figurative">figurative</a> sources, Frankenthaler often mentioned an interest in <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#landscape-glossary">landscape</a>. She said the paintings she had made when she was out in the country were &#8220;filled with ideas about landscape, space, arrangement, perspective, repetition, flatness, light, all of which was translated and carried on in my own work and experiments.&#8221;<sup>1</sup> In 1957, Frankenthaler said, &#8220;If I am forced to associate, I think of my pictures as explosive landscapes, worlds, and distances held on a flat surface.&#8221;<sup>2</sup></p> <p>The title of this work refers to the biblical character Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebekah. As described in the Book of Genesis, Jacob had a dream in which he saw a ladder reaching toward heaven. Speaking about this work, Frankenthaler said, &#8220;The picture developed (bit by bit while I was working on it) into shapes symbolic of an exuberant figure and ladder, therefore <i>Jacob&#8217;s Ladder</i>.&#8221;<sup>3</sup></p> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-1"> <div class="term-def-content"> Helen Frankenthaler, quoted in <i>Helen Frankenthaler </i>(New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989), 120. </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-2"> <div class="term-def-content"> Helen Frankenthaler, quoted in <i>Helen Frankenthaler</i> (New York: Happy N. Abrams, 1989), 99. </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-3"> <div class="term-def-content"> Helen Frankenthaler, quoted in <i>MoMA Highlights, </i>219. </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-painting"> <div class="term-def-content"> <p>A work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or another support (noun).</p> <div class="glossary"> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#painting">Glossary</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-canvas"> <div class="term-def-content"> <p>Cotton or linen woven cloth used as a surface for painting.</p> <div class="glossary"> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#canvas">Glossary</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-paint"> <div class="term-def-content"> <p>A combination of pigment, binder, and solvent (noun); the act of producing a picture using paint (verb, gerund).</p> <div class="glossary"> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#paint" class="video">Watch video</a> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#paint">Glossary</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-pigment"> <div class="term-def-content"> <p>A substance, usually finely powdered, that produces the color of any medium. When mixed with oil, water, or another fluid, it becomes paint.</p> <div class="glossary"> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#pigment">Glossary</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-landscape-glossary"> <div class="term-def-content"> <p>The natural landforms of a region; also, an image that has natural scenery as its primary focus.</p> <div class="glossary"> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#landscape-glossary">Glossary</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="term-definition" id="term-definition-figurative"> <div class="term-def-content"> <p>Representing a form or figure in art that retains clear ties to the real world.</p> <div class="glossary"> <a href="/learn/moma_learning/glossary#figurative">Glossary</a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="box-section"> <div class="clear"></div> <div id="multimedia"> <div class="outer-box"> <div class="inner-box"> <h3>Multimedia</h3> <div class="content-box"> <div class="audio-container clearfix"> <div class="equal"> <!-- top row displays description for each audio file --> <div class="row"> <div class="audiobox"> <p><strong>AUDIO:</strong> Curator Emeritus John Elderfield discusses Helen Frankenthaler’s process</p> </div> </div> <!-- second row displays audio player and download link. this info must be in separate rows so that the players line up regardless of the length of the description above. --> <div class="row"> <div class="audiobox"> <iframe src="http://www.moma.org/audios/embed/291/88?size=small-audio" width="205" height="32" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> <a href="/momaorg/shared/audio_file/audio_file/88/418e.mp3">Download MP3</a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <!-- related boxes --> <div id="related" class="clearfix"> <div class="outer-box"> <div class="inner-box"> <h3>Related Links</h3> <div class="content-box"> <div class="featured-content clearfix w100"> <img src="https://www.moma.org/wp/moma_learning/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Related-Link.-Frankenthaler-video-50x50.jpg" alt="" width="50" height="50"/> <div class="left"> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yFjX2Nbf-HM">VIDEO: Helen Frankenthaler discusses her work</a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="outer-box"> <div class="inner-box"> <h3>From MoMA Stores</h3> <div class="content-box"> <div class="featured-content clearfix w100"> <img src="https://www.moma.org/wp/moma_learning/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/793_A2_Abstract_Expressionism_at_the_Museum_of_Modern_Art-50x50.jpg" alt="" width="50" height="50"/> <div class="left"> <em>Abstract Expressionism at The Museum of Modern Art</em> (2010) exhibition catalogue<br/> <a href="http://www.momastore.org/museum/moma/ProductDisplay?purpose=crawl&catalogId=10451&categoryId=11486&productId=69424&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=26683&keyWord=Abstract+Expressionism+at+the+Museum+of+Modern+Art&storeId=10001">BUY &gt;</a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>