Frank Stella is an American artist best known for his use of geometric patterns and shapes in creating both paintings and sculptures. Arguably one of the most influential living American artists, Stella’s works utilize the formal properties of shape, color, and composition to explore non-literary narratives, as seen in his work Harrar II (1967) from the Protractor series. “Abstraction didn't have to be limited to a kind of rectilinear geometry or even a simple curve geometry. It could have a geometry that had a narrative impact. In other words, you could tell a story with the shapes,” he explained. “It wouldn't be a literal story, but the shapes and the interaction of the shapes and colors would give you a narrative sense. You could have a sense of an abstract piece flowing along and being part of an action or activity.” Born on May 12, 1936, in Malden, MA, Stella went on to study history at Princeton University before moving to New York in 1958. Having moved to the city, Stella was immersed in the heyday Abstract Expressionism, but it was the work of Jasper Johns that inspired Stella’s Black Paintings of 1958-1960. These flatly painted, austere works, helped open up the doors to Minimalism. Through the following decades, Stella gained traction in the art world, and in 1970 he became the youngest artist ever to be granted a solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. He continues to work in New York, NY, and commutes to his studio in Rock Tavern, New York. Today, Stella’s works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.
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