Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painter known for "Mountains and Sea" from 1952 and other works. She was featured in such exhibitions as the 1964 Post-Painterly Abstraction exhibition and the 1989 Museum of Modern Art retrospective in her honor.
She studied at the Dalton School; later, she attended Bennington College, where she met writer Clement Greenberg with whom she had a five-year-long relationship.
She received the National Medal of Arts in 2001.
Her father, Alfred Frankenthaler, was a highly esteemed New York State Supreme Court judge. She was married to artist Robert Motherwell for 13 years.
She was influenced by Hans Hofmann.