A Guide to Frank Stella’s Artwork

When talking about great 20th century artists, it’s almost impossible to leave out the name Frank Stella. His minimalist work and famous sayings such as, “What you see is what you see,” rocked the art world to its foundation. Stella’s art can be found at auction houses from Dania Beach all the way to London. Here is a brief overview of why Stella and his art are such a force to be reckoned with.

The Minimalist Movement

Stella is by far best known for his minimalist artwork, which began in the 1950’s. He strayed away from paintings involving images or reflections of the real world, and instead opted for more material-inspired work such as his famous series entitled “The Black Paintings”. They involve the use of very precise straight lines, to the point where much of his work looked like it had been produced by a machine in a factory.

Straying From Simple

Although Stella’s artwork started off as paintings with a very simple nature, it began to get more and more complex later in his career. He began experimenting with the technique of painting 3D illusions onto his canvases, which also became more complex with Stella choosing oval and V-shaped canvases. These illusions were inspired by Baroque style artists such as Caravaggio, which first become popular in the 17th century.

Moving to Sculptures

It wasn’t long before Stella began experimenting with the sculpture medium, although he frequently claimed that he was still and painter and that sculptures were just paintings that had been cut out and stood up. This period of his work is where the Moby Dick-inspired work came from, which continues to astound audiences to this day.

The Important Works 

While Stella has many fantastic works, some of them objectively stand out among the rest. One of these is “The Marriage of Reason and Squalor” which belongs to his previously mentioned and critically acclaimed “The Black Paintings” series. It uses parallel lines and symmetry to create a squared-off U shape over and over again on the canvas.

Another one of his masterpieces is “Harran II” which belongs to the “The Protractor” series. In comparison with his earlier works, this massive painting uses much more vibrant colors and opts for more circular lines mixed in with his favored straight lines.

Where is He Now?

Frank Stella is still alive and working in New York City. His work, which was generally produced in a series format, is at auction houses and museums all over the country. Much of his work frequently sells for tens of thousands of dollars and is revered by both art lovers and critics alike.