Frank Stella (b. 1936) is among the most prominent and prolific living artists. After graduating from Princeton University, Stella began a dedicated painting practice. He immediately received acclaim for his Black Paintings, which were included in “Sixteen Americans” at Museum of Modern Art in 1959. Observed as precursors to minimalism and celebrated for opening the self-reflexive logic of painting––termed by Michael Fried the “deductive structure”––his interventions into painting during the 1960s and 1970s saw an enormous expansion of the medium. Interested in the spatial problems of painting, Stella began to produce shaped paintings that opened the possibility of painting as object. These works also pointed towards a dynamic movement achieved by means other than gesture. The Polish Village series, inspired by 17-19 th century Polish wooden synagogues destroyed during the Nazi occupation of the country, exemplify his intensified interest in the physicality of painting and fabrication techniques beyond the brush. In 1970, at 34, Stella became the youngest artist to ever receive a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Since that time, the artist has continued a ceaselessly energetic and inquisitive practice across media––from painting and sculpture to printmaking and reliefs. Looking to literature and his characteristic preoccupations (cigars and cars), the artist gives imagistic form the imaginative and playful.
He won first prize in Tokyo’s International Biennial Exhibition of Paintings in 1967, and in 1979 he received the Claude M. Fuess Distinguished Service Award from Phillips Academy. He was the recipient of both the Skowhegan Award for Painting and the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture in 1981. In 1985 he received the Award of American Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, Dartmouth College and the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. In 1989 he received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government. In 1992 he was awarded the Barnard Medal of Distinction. He was presented with the Gold Medal for Graphic Art award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998. In 2000 he became the only American artist to have been given a solo show at London’s Royal Academy, of which he is a member. He was presented with the Gold Medal for Graphic Art award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998. Stella won the Gold Medal of the National Arts Club in New York in 2001. In 2009 Stella was the recipient of the Julio Gonzalez Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Arts in Valencia, Spain and in the same year was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama.
Stella’s work can be found in almost every major museum around the world, including the Menil Collection, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.. In 2016, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth organized a comprehensive retrospective of Stella’s work.
Frank Stella lives and works in New York City.