How Frank Stella Became An Art World Name

Frank Stella’s formal artistic debut in 1959 instantly created a powerful impression among the art scene in New York, changing up the basic nature of abstract expressionism with black striped paintings that naturally gave off an impersonal vibe. However, as time went on, he would end up increasing the complexity of his work, starting by incorporating more colors, before going on to take his paintings into the third dimension and even moving on to create free-standing structure. This constant devotion to change and experimentation is part of what has made Frank Stella such a major influence on a lot of different disciplines of art. But how did that come to be?

Born to first-generation Italian-American parents, Frank Stella’s true introduction to art started in his high school days. As a sophomore at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, he was fortunate enough to have abstractionist artist Patrick Morgan as a teacher, who first taught him how to paint. Stella would then hone his skills even further when he started taking an art class at Princeton University while working towards a history degree. His artistic tastes and sensibilities were also shaped further when he dipped his first foot into the New York artwork by being brought to exhibitions by some of his professors.

The signature paintings that a lot of people associate with Frank Stella are his “Black Paintings.” The Black Paintings consist of parallel black stripes made with of all materials, house paint. The point of the striped patterns as Stella himself puts it, is to try and out a constant rate of illusionistic space coming out of the painting. This turns the concept of painting is a look into a three-dimensional space on its head, something that had been the main mindset since the Renaissance.

By sticking to a specific system of the artist’s creating, the Black Paintings would be a major catalyst to the Minimalist art movement. Devotees of this movement focused on creating abstract works without content, theme or narrative, mainly a series of different geometric shapes. To this day, Stella has remained one of the forerunners in the medium that we know as “non-representational painting” This keeps to the idea of focusing on the basic elements of art, like color and shape, rather than trying to focus on appealing to emotion.

Having a Frank Stella piece in your collection is a piece of history and trendsetting all in one. If you are interested in looking out to add some of Frank Stella’s artwork into your own collection, be sure to look up art auction houses in Dania Beach.

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.