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Frank Stella

United States Born in: 1936 Masterpieces

Frank Stella was born in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1936. Now, he lives and works in New York. Not only is Stella often considered a pioneer of minimalism, but he is also a central representative of Op Art and shaped canvas. He studied Arts at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and History at Princeton University. Stella was influenced by abstract expressionism and artists Pollock and Kline. Later, Stella renounced the expressive use of painting and rejected the lyricism of the movement. He focused on the contrasts between shape and color by painting abnormally-shaped canvases. This led him to break the boundaries of classical geometric work and his paintings evolved into real sculptures from the 1980s onwards. 

Stella's first solo show was in 1960 where he exhibited his "Black paintings" despite having already been shown in NYC's Museum of Modern Art during the "Sixteen Americans" exhibition. These works are the culmination of his reflections on object-painting and marked his break with abstract expressionism. The compositions are defined by the representation of black stripes separated by fine white lines. Again, Stella explores the opposing forms and the absence of color. He uses painting as an end and not as a means of expression or representation. As the minimalist artist, Carl Andre said, "Frank Stella has found it necessary to paint stripes. There is nothing else in his painting. Frank Stella is not interested in expression or sensitivity. He is interested in the necessities of painting... His stripes are the paths of brush on canto These paths lead only into painting". This exhibition marked the starting point of the minimalist movement. 

Stella developed "shaped canvases", where the contour merges with the painted shapes. He experiments with colors: white, black, or multicolored, and media: aluminum, copper, or steel. His compositions are generally in series. In the mid-1970s, there was a turning point in his artistic approach. He began to work in relief, influenced by the Baroque movement. Since the 1980s, sculpting has kept Stella's interest and he has produced almost exclusively sculpture. 

Frank Stella's work has been presented in numerous exhibitions. He is one of the few artists who have been able to attend his own retrospective during his lifetime. In 1970 and then nearly ten years later, exhibitions were dedicated to him at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. His sculpture, "The Prince of Hamburg", was installed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2001.

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Frank Stella, Whitney Museum of American Art, 13 January - 13 March 1983, Print

Frank Stella

Whitney Museum of American Art, 13 January - 13 March 1983, 1983
74.8 x 52 inch


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