The resemblance of Stella’s Cones and Pillars series and the work of Leger is pretty clear, although to contemplate it is still interesting. Stella has a true modernist genius for picking up on the least promising sources. This Leger could be called “dance of the red stripes.”
The space is peculiar – modeled volumes tumble against a background that looks like it’s trying to be something cubist, but failing, with a few flat planes interposed here and there in the jumble. The oddness of Leger’s work is what will help it survive, but its non-cubist modernism is likely what attracted Stella. The crazy surface decoration on the Cones and
Pillars could be a distraction, or we might see it as a way to join Leger type mechanical fantasy to abstract expressionism – and why not? Leger’s sculptural pictorialism (strange thought) could also be related to The Planar Dimension discussed earlier.