FRANK STELLA “STAR OF PERSIA I”, LITHOGRAPH, 1967
Frank Stella is a key figure in the evolution of 20th-century abstraction. He is considered the most influential American painter from the generation that abandoned and surpassed Abstract Expressionism.
In 1967 Frank Stella began making prints at Gemini G.E.L. (which would quickly become one of the top American printing studios). Working in Los Angeles he became an innovative and prolific print-maker, beginning with his striking first series: Star of Persia. The series consisted of two prints, "Star of Persia I" and "Star of Persia II". Both editions sold out within a year.
It's appropriate that Stella would give the series this name, as his last name Stella is Italian for "star".
Among the variety of dynamic shapes Stella has explored throughout his oeuvre, the star stands out as the most singular and identifiable. Stella's stars began with this hard-edged geometric print and continue to be revisited and reinterpreted by him decades later.
The celestial shape has been explored by Stella in his diverging art styles. It appeared in minimal form like this print and maximal form like his most recent mammoth star sculptures of the last ten years. Despite Stella's vastly different artistic styles between the 60's/70's and present day, the star has remained his constant muse.
"Star of Persia I" represents a seminal moment in Stella's oeuvre as the earliest example of his use of the star shape, and his first foray into printmaking.
By contrasting bold colors, hard-edge lines, and precise geometric forms, the inherent geometric elements of the star shape are emphasized. Essential to Stella's practice, there is no allusion to the narrative, the unconscious, or symbolism within his work. His art forces the viewer to pay attention and simply enjoy. As Stella famously said, "What you see is what you get."
“Star of Persia I” and "Star of Persia II" can be found in many important museum collections around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), the Smithsonian Museum of Art (NY), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in LA, to mention a few.
"Star of Persia I"
Color lithograph on paper
Signed, dated and numbered by the artist
From an edition of 93
26"H 31.5"W (work)
30"H 36"W (framed)
Published by Gemini G.E.L. Inc., Los Angeles
Very good condition.
Note: Detailed condition report by request.
Three chevrons' colors are attenuated.
Literature: Richard Axsom and Leah Kolb (2016), The Prints of Frank Stella: A Catalogue Raisonné 1967-1982, Axsom, pl.23, pg. 55 .
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