Frank Stella first emerged on the scene in the late 1950s, when his Minimalist “Black Paintings” heralded a new era in postwar art. In the years since then, he has worked consistently in series, pioneering new approaches to form, color, narrative, and abstraction with innovative paintings, prints, sculptures, and architectural installations. A prolific and persistently inventive figure, Stella transforms his practice series after series, making unparalleled contributions to the development of art. With a career extended across more than half a century, Stella both holds an important place in the history of American art and maintains contemporary relevance as his work continues to influence younger generations of artists.
Born in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1936, and based in New York City, Frank Stella has produced an extraordinary body of work over the past six decades. He studied painting at Phillips Academy, Andover and Princeton University, graduating in 1958 with a degree in History. Since his first solo gallery exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1960, Stella has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. Early in his career, his work was included in a number of significant exhibitions that defined the sphere of postwar art, including Sixteen Americans (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1959), Geometric Abstraction (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1962), The Shaped Canvas (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1964-65), Systemic Painting (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1966), Documenta 4 (1968), and Structure of Color (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1971).
In 1970, at the age of 34, Frank Stella became the youngest artist ever to receive a full-scale retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He received a second retrospective at the same institution in 1987 — an unprecedented occurrence in the museum’s history.
The author of many essays and articles exploring painting and abstraction, Stella delivered a lecture series as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University in 1983. He has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, Dartmouth College and the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. Stella has also been the recipient of a great many honors and awards internationally. In 2000, he became the only American artist to be given a solo show at London’s Royal Academy.