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Biography

Frank Stella

Frank Stella, photo Kristine Larsen. 

Frank Stella has been pushing boundaries for decades, constantly seeking out new means of art-making — and succeeding time and again. Stella’s preoccupation with formalist concerns has led to intensive and rich explorations of line, colour, texture and the potential of the pictorial surface to reach beyond the flat canvas to the realm of volume, space and light. Exploring how to excise illusionistic space from painting, Stella created the seminal Black Paintings, credited by some as reinventing Modernism and establishing the basis for Minimalism. Loosening the boundaries of the pictorial surface by introducing relief into his art, Stella eventually moved into three-dimensional sculpture and architecture, which have been his main concern in recent years. Stella’s collaboration with master printer Ken Tyler led to the breakthrough technique referred to today as offset lithography. Stella is recognised as being as important to the art of fine printmaking as to painting.

Born in Malden, Massachusetts, 1936, Stella studied art history and painting at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and later graduated from Princeton University with a BA in history. Early in his career he was included in landmark New York shows that defined post-war art such as Sixteen Americans at Museum of Modern Art (1959) and The Shaped Canvas at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1964-65). Stella has been honoured with numerous retrospectives - most recently at the Whitney Museum, New York (2016) and is the only living artist to have had two at the Museum of Modern Art (1970 and 1987). His work is found in the collections of eminent museums throughout the world. Stella has lived and worked in New York for the past 40 years.