Stella’s Prints

I’ve been enjoying Stella’s prints, and discovering one series after another. Usually each new one is a challenge. I have the catalogue raisonné of the prints up to 1982, and look at it with pleasure every day. And the prints after 1982 are even better. There seems to be a widespread prejudice among painters against Stella’s relief paintings, or say among certain painters—moldy figs and young fogeys. Elizabeth Murray is an artist I respect, and she’s been mentioned on this blog more than once, but how does one account for a remark like this (from an interview with Robert Storr)? “…of course I was completely aware of Stella’s work…I am not sure what my relationship to Stella’s work was, he is so big and macho and I think he’s an incredible artist, but I just never thought he was a painter…” Perhaps bigotry is the right word. But if one really craves traditional two dimensional paintings, Stella’s efforts in that direction are his prints, and that idea of course entails a different

Frank Stella, Sinjerli Variation III 1977

Frank Stella, Sinjerli Variation III 1977

conception of painting, probably still unacceptable to “painters.” And in later works of the Kleist series, printing methods and ideas, such as templates, repetition of images in different colors, inverted or reversed etc., were used in unique painted images.

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