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Frank Stella (artist)



Frank Stella’s work is characterized by changing styles. Born in Malden, MA, in 1936, he began to paint abstract pictures while in school at the Phillips Academy in Andover and then at Princeton University. Though initially influenced by Abstract Expressionism, he became interested in the idea of a painting as a physical object rather than a metaphor for something else. After moving to New York, his series of black ‘pinstripe’ paintings inspired a mixture of praise and revulsion when shown at the Museum of Modern Art’s “16 Americans” exhibition in 1959. Soon after, Stella began using flat bands of bright color, then experimenting with notched and shaped canvases. In the 1970s, he began to work with canvases that included cut-out shapes in relief. Shaped paintings developed into wall constructions with multiple projecting components and lively brush stroke patterns. By the 1990s, much of Stella’s work was three-dimensional, stressing color and curved motifs in dynamic mixed-media pieces.

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Frank Philip Stella (May 12, 1936 – May 4, 2024) was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction. He lived and worked in New York City for much of his career before moving his studio to Rock Tavern, New York. Stella's work catalyzed the minimalist movement in the late 1950s. He took a reductionist approach to his art, saying he wanted to demonstrate that for him, every painting is "a flat surface with paint on it—nothing more", and disavowed conceptions of art as a means of expressing emotion. He won notice in the New York art world in 1959 when his four black pinstripe paintings were shown at the Museum of Modern Art. Stella was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 2009 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture by the International Sculpture Center in 2011.