* 1936 Malden
Frank Stella was born in Malden, Massachusetts on May 12, 1936. From 1950 to 1954 he studies at Phillips Academy in Andover under the abstract painter Patrick Morgan. Afterwards he studies history at Princeton University from 1954 to 1958, where he also attends the open drawing classes of William C. Seitz. As of 1958 Frank Stella has got a studio in New York, earning a living as a house painter.
The early pictures from his New York days are geared at "Abstract Expressionism". In 1958 he sees an exhibition of Jasper Johns at the gallery of Leo Castelli, whose flag and target pictures impress him a lot. Few months later Frank Stella changes from gestural abstraction to a more reduced, conceptual style. He makes his first "Black Paintings", large-format canvasses on which he arranges symmetric patterns of stripes of black cloth. Stella soon adapts the shape of the image carrier to the inner structure of his pictures. The canvas can take on any geometric, later also asymmetric shape. In 1960/61 he makes a series of aluminum and copper pictures and the "Shaped Canvases", which will give Frank Stella's pictures the object character.
As of 1971 he works on the series of "Polish Villages". These large-format collages of paper, felt, canvas, plywood, Formica and aluminum, the title referring to destroyed Polish synagogues, mark the transition from painting to relief. As of the mid 1970s he makes large, bright and colorful reliefs, mostly of aluminum and fiberglass, which are composed of geometric shapes.
He also works on numerous cycles of graphic prints as of 1980, such as the "Circuits", the "Shards" or the series of the "Cones and Pillars", the latter after a series of reliefs of the same name. Beginning in the early 1990s, the artist also conquers the three-dimensional space with his sculptural works, relief friezes and outdoor sculptures.
Frank Stella is regarded as one of the most important American post war artist, his works are shown in numerous large exhibitions. The first retrospective takes place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1970. He is also honored with numerous titles and awards, for instance the honorary membership of the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem in 1981 or the honorary doctorate of Princeton University in 1984, in 1996 he is given the same honor by the Jena University.
Frank Stella lives and works in New York.