The American artist Frank Stella (born May 12, 1936) was a revolutionary pioneer in the world of modern art. His artwork embodies a unique artistic approach that’s focused on changing the way we perceive art. Throughout his career, Stella has placed much emphasis on exploring different artistic ideas, which has lead his style to change drastically over the span of his life. Surprisingly enough, his bold experimentation and complete shift in focus has been received very positively in the art world, and Stella is considered a thought leader by many.

Stella’s artwork is in a league of its own. Early in his career, Stella started creating black paintings that delved largely into the ideas held by Abstract Expressionism, and the work overlapped Minimalist principles. With their own unique twist on the artist’s view of Abstract Expressionism, these pieces were meant to explore how viewers perceived space when viewing the work. Stella’s use of black paint was meant to make viewers aware of the flatness of his paintings, rather than creating the illusion of a three-dimensional space by implementing techniques that became popular during the Renaissance. It’s interesting to note that these paintings, that contributed largely to Stella becoming famous among art lovers, were created simply using house paint applied smoothly over the canvas.

No art is any good unless you can feel how it’s put together. By and large it’s the eye, the hand and if it’s any good, you feel the body. Most of the best stuff seems to be a complete gesture, the totality of the artist’s body; you can really lean on it.”
—Frank Stella

But Stella wasn’t done experimenting. His art has constantly evolved. While his first paintings were very simple, he later went on to develop surprisingly complex paintings. His worked has been marked by very recognisable periods where he takes to fully exploring an idea.

Stella has worked in various mediums. He’s created various painting, sculptures and murals that can be seen at the Whitney Museum of American art, the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The artist has also explored widely in printmaking, and has developed many techniques to create interesting prints by experimenting in lithography, screenprinting and etching.

The Meaning of Stella’s Art

Stella’s works aren’t necessarily designed with a specific message, and the artist has been quoted saying “What you see is what you see”, a phrase that’s been rather influential in the way artists perceive Minimalism. Instead of creating art meant to be interpreted with underlying emotional, social or political meaning, Stella creates his works for their own sake.

His aim is to draw viewers in with artwork that explores the relationships between shape, color and the space around the work.

Stella’s Art and Vertu’s Vision

At Vertu, we aim to support and promote modern art. We collect pieces by various artist that worked in styles such as Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, Minimalism and Color Field. But art is about so much more than creating work that is confined to the ideas held by set movements, and every now and then, artists like Stella prove to be the personification of what it means to create inspiring art that isn’t all about following any rules. These artists are true pioneers who have set out to establish for themselves what they feel art should represent. We are proud to support these ideas and many other by filling our gallery with an eclectic range of works by a wide variety of different artists.