The youngest daughter of a New York State Supreme Court Justice, Helen made her own mark in the world early in her career as a painter. Influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, Helen experimented with techniques of staining a canvas after watching Jackson Pollock using his drip method. In 1952 she made her breakthrough into the art world when she painted Mountains and Sea. In this painting she used her own method of staining an unprimed canvas with paint. In 1958 she married fellow Abstract Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell but the marriage ended in 1971. She made sets and costumes for the ballet in the past and taught art over the years. Today she is recognized as one of the most important female artists of the second half of the twentieth century.