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Frank Stella (b.1936)

Frank Stella

Double Concentric Squares, 1973

Acrylic on canvas

81 x 161 inches


Private collection, acquired directly from the artist

Sotheby’s, New York, 7 May 1992

Margot Gallery Inc., Latana, FL

Private Collection, acquired directly from the above, until 2014


Frank Stella
Frank Stella

Untitled, 1959

Oil and enamel on paper

15 7/8 x 11 ¾ inches

Signed & dated ‘Stella Jan ‘59’


Darby Bannard Collection, U.S.A. (acquired directly from the artist)

Anonymous sale, Christie’s, New York






Untitled, 1959

Oil and enamel on canvasboard

24 X 20 inches

Signed & dated ‘Stella ‘59’ on the reverse



Darby Bannard Collection, U.S.A. (acquired directly from the artist) James Barron Art
Private Collection, Chicago

M. Knoedler & Co, New York

Christie’s, New York 10 November 1993

Private Collection, until 2014

(Note: Darby Bannard was Stella's classmate, contemporary and occasional collaborator)


Excerpt from Bonham’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Catalogue:


“Untitled, from 1959 is an early and intriguing work by Frank Stella painted in the year following his move to New York after graduation from Princeton University, New Jersey. The influence of Jasper Johns, whose exhibition Stella had visited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York in 1958, is evident. Viewing this exhibition, the young artist experienced for the first time Jasper Johns' seminal Target and Flag paintings. Johns' paintings offered an alternative aesthetic to the prevailing Abstract Expressionism, and the flatness and unassuming geometry of his pieces appealed to Stella who started to interpret the fresh, colourful, and iconographic devices in a series of flag-like works such as the present work.

Close inspection reveals that Untitled from 1959 was painted over an earlier composition, with the faintest strips of the underlying colour visible between the thick horizontal banding in red and purple. This process was not a novel technique for the artist, in fact there are other important earlier examples of over painting including Astoria from 1958, now in the collection of MoMA, where a succession of black stripes permeates the surface layer of yellow enamel.

Talking to the Telegraph newspaper in 2011 about the process of re-working and re-painting the artist stated: 'I was working on a particular painting [Delta, 1958] and I remember I got mad at it. So I painted over it, and went to bed. When I looked at it the next day, it didn't look that bad. All I'd done was simplify it by painting out the bands all black. But something was happening. It has a kind of presence. That was the beginning.' The 'beginning' Stella referred to were his widely acclaimed Black Paintings, a series of dark flat monochromatic works populated with stripes, which would cement his reputation internationally at the age of 23.

Whether repainted through an act of frustration or perhaps aesthetic purification, the present lot is not only a historic work from a small series of early paintings that bear witness to Stella's early indebtedness to Jasper Johns, but also laid the foundations for the themes that later pervade his art.”




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