Contemporary female artists’ abstract masterworks celebrated at AIG’s inaugural exhibition in HK

In 2021, Yuki Terase and Amy Cappellazzo, two prominent rainmakers in the contemporary art market, co-founded Art Intelligence Global (AIG) – an international art consultancy firm. After the art industry wondered what they would do next, news of the pair resurfaced.

Earlier this summer, AIG and well-known Japanese fashion label Onitsuka Tiger turned the latter’s London flagship store into Tiger Gallery. Moving eastwards, in Hong Kong, AIG will have its first exhibition held this fall. Showcasing abstract expressionist art, the exhibition will highlight American female artists during the late 20th century – such as Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and Lynne Drexler.

In the Asian market, the appetite for Western art masterpieces has surged and this exhibition is timely for Asian collectors. The paintings will be featured at the AIG’s Hong Kong exhibition space from 2 October to 3 December.

Amy Cappellazzo (left) and Yuki Terase (right) are founders of the art advisory firm, Art Intelligence Global (AIG)

Tiger Gallery in Regent Street, London

© 2022 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Photograph by Robert McKeever, courtesy Gagosian

Helen Frankenthaler | Shatter, Oil on canvas

Created in 1953
123.2 x 137.2 cm

Inspired by Frankenthaler’s work, the exhibition is called Shatter: Color Field and the Women of Abstract Expressionism.

Male artists – such as William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko – dominated American post-war American abstract expressionist art. During this time, female artists strove to break through these social expectations and make their names as abstract painters known. In recent years, with the rise of feminism, female artists' oeuvres have received increasingly more attention in the art market – fetching favourable results at auctions.

In 2020, Frankenthaler’s auction record was set. Her 1975 painting, Royal Fireworks, garnered US$7.8 million dollars at Sotheby’s New York.

Helen Frankenthaler

Frankenthaler's Royal Fireworks (1975) | Sotheby's New York, 2020 | Sold: US$7.8 million 

Frankenthaler’s Shatter, on loan from the Helen Frankenthaler’s Foundation, shows the artist’s break from the New York School. On view publicly for the first time since its inclusion in John Elderfield’s 2013 Painted on 21st Street exhibition in New York, this work is an example of the artist’s contribution to the history of abstraction.  

One of the great American artists of the 20th century, Frankenthaler was an integral member of the second wave of abstract expressionists. In 1952, through her soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting – while at times referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways.

Created in 1953, Shatter radiates with areas of colour which sink into the surface, and subtly evokes an emotional or physical state to viewers. Frankenthaler’s mastery as a colourist is on full display, achieving a bright teal on the periphery of muted hues of oranges and yellows.

© 2022 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy Kasmin Gallery

Lee Krasner | Untitled, Oil on canvas

Created in 1950
100.3 x 147.3 cm

Another key figure in American art, Krasner’s energetic works reflect the possibility in post-war New York. Jackson Pollock’s wife, her artistic achievements were overshadowed by her husband for many years. It was not until his death in 1956 that Krasner began to receive more recognition for her works.

During their time together, the couple gave each other encouragement in their creative processes. Pollock motivated his wife to use her intuition to paint and develop an abstract expressionist vocabulary through colour blocks and lines. In reciprocation, Krasner introduced Pollock to many artists and gallerists – such as Willem de Kooning, Hans Hoffman and the distinguished art collector, Peggy Guggenheim.

Lee Krasner 

Krasner's The Eye is the First Circle (1960) | Sotheby's New York, 2019 | Sold: US$11.7 million

First exhibited in 1951, Krasner’s Untitled is an early work by the artist – on loan at AIG’s exhibition from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Inspired by Western artists such as Hans Hoffman and Pablo Picasso, she developed her own style of geometric abstraction. With pulsing abstract blocks of colour that form rhythmic brushstrokes, Untitled reveals a moment in which Krasner finds a foothold in colour field as a point of departure.

In 1984, Krasner died aged 75. After her death, the Museum of Modern Art, New York held a retrospective – one of the few female artists to be given one at the museum.

Then, in 2019, Krasner’s 1960 masterpiece, The Eye is the First Circle, set an auction record for the artist. It amassed US$11.7 million dollars at Sotheby’s New York.

Lynne Drexler | Keller Fair II

Created in 1959-1962
146.7 x 143.5 cm

A major work from the artist’s most pivotal period, Drexler was one of Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell’s most accomplished students during the 1950s. Her early works were vivacious, depicted with large, exuberant brushstrokes and give abstract visions of both landscapes and still-life.

Her signature style of searing staccato daubs of deftly modulated colour emerged at the end of the 1950s and culminated in a solo show at Tanager Gallery, New York in 1961. In Hong Kong, this is her first major exhibition outside of Maine since she departed from the New York art scene during the mid-1960s.

In 2022, Lynne Drexler became one of the most sought-after female artists in the market, where her personal auction records were broken. Most notably, in May, her 1960 painting Herbert’s Garden was estimated between US$70,000 and 100,000 dollars. In the end, it fetched US$1.5 million dollars – far beyond expectations.

Lynne Drexler

Drexler's Herbert's Gaden (1960) | Christie's New York, 2022 | Sold: US$1.5 million 

The masterpieces will be displayed at AIG Hong Kong's exhibition space

Exhibition Details:

Shatter: Color Field and the Women of Abstract Expressionism
Address: Suite A, 1st Floor TS Tower, 43 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong  
Date: 3 October – 2 December 2022