Frank Stella

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Stella, Frank,

1936–, American artist, b. Malden, Mass. In his early "black paintings" Stella exhibits the precision and rationality that characterized minimalismminimalism,
schools of contemporary art and music, with their origins in the 1960s, that have emphasized simplicity and objectivity. Minimalism in the Visual Arts
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, employing parallel angular stripes to emphasize the rectangular shape of his large canvases. His innovative and influential use of irregularly shaped canvases first appeared in his metallic series in 1960. Later examples of his work stress color in decorative curved motifs. In the 1970s and 80s, Stella abandoned the studied, minimalist aesthetic in favor of a more improvised, dynamic, and dramatic idiom in mixed-media. During that time he abandoned flat paintings and instead created large, jutting, multipart, three-dimensional painting-constructions that often incorporate bright colors, enlarged versions of French curves, and lively brushstroke patterns.

Stella's work became fully three-dimensional in the early 1990s in a series of dense abstract sculptures composed of found and cast elements in stainless steel and bronze. These unpainted and often large-scale metal wall constructions, with their tangled, layered, and looping shapes, project an air of vibrant spontaneity. One of his most important and monumental sculptures is Prince of Homburg (1995–2001), installed outside the National Gallery of Art's East Building, Washington, D.C. Each of Stella's styles of painting and construction have been executed in series; as of 2015, the date of his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, he had created some 50 of these series. Throughout his career, Stella also has been a prolific printmaker. His works are included in numerous museum and corporate collections worldwide.

Bibliography

See Frank Stella: An Illustrated Biography (1996) by S. Guberman; studies by W. Rubin (1980), L. Rubin, ed. (1986), and A. Pacquement (1988).

Stella, Frank (Philip)

(1936–  ) painter; born in Malden, Mass. (nephew of Joseph Stella). He studied art at Princeton (1954–58), settled in New York City (1958), and worked as a house painter. He produced abstract "pin-stripe" works (1959), such as The Marriage of Reason and Squalor (1959), painted his "black" series (c. 1960), and soon was experimenting with shaped canvases and copper and aluminum paint. From 1964 to 1965 he created his Notched V series and, later, began his large sculptural wall reliefs, The Indian Bird Series (1977–78). Later his work was three dimensional.