Renowned Artist Frank Stella Passes Away at 87

Abstract Art Pioneer Leaves Lasting Legacy in Visual Arts.

by Nouman Rasool
Renowned Artist Frank Stella Passes Away at 87
© Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Frank Stella, the great figure of American abstract art, passed away at 87, his representative said Saturday. The artist, known for leading post-war abstract work in American art, died of lymphoma at his Manhattan residence, as confirmed to the New York Times by his wife, Dr.

Harriet E. McGurk. Stella's artistic journey originates from Massachusetts, where he was born in 1936. He developed his artistic gift at Phillips Academy Andover with Patrick Morgan and further went ahead to study history and painting at Princeton University with mentors Stephen Greene and William Seitz.

It was in the late 1950s when he moved to New York City, marking the beginning of a career that would shape the course of the next generations. He was already a 22-year-old celebrity with the new "Black Paintings", which were already exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.

Stella's trade in these paintings was monochromatic, striped patterns done with house paint embodying minimalism. They have left an indelible mark on the world of art since then. It is a talent for working with normal resources to evoke sophisticated artistic expressions that set him apart at a very young stage in his career.

Stella's Evolving Artistry

Over the next sixty years, Stella's art would continue to evolve, incorporating mixed media and non-traditional geometric canvases, pushing the envelope of what was considered a painted object versus a sculpture.

His "Protractor Series" from the late '60s and '70s, with its dynamic curves and bold colors, would introduce an entire new layer of meaning into his oeuvre. It was in the 1980s and '90s that he unveiled his "Moby Dick"-inspired sculptures, dappled with neon and pulsing with movement, that reinforced his reputation as protean and unflaggingly creative.

His later years were as productive, taking on complex sculptural forms and ensuring his works made appearances at the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in New York City, among other venues. Among his last pieces currently being shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in Florida, it stands as a testament to the long creative spirit that pervaded all of his works.

Representing Stella since 2014, Marianne Boesky allowed for his respect with the reply, "It has been a great honor to work with Frank for this past decade. His is a remarkable legacy, and he will be missed." Stella will be remembered, and his legacy remains.