The 1970s was a time when critics began to talk about, “the death of painting.” Frank Stella rejuvenated both painting and fine art printmaking by pushing the limits of both.
In the middle of the 1970s, Stella’s work became more lavish and unrestrained. He began to use French Curves and other technical drafting tools to create sweeping and sinuous lines and new materials to give his paintings and extra dimensions.
Frank Stella, Master Printmaker
Frank Stella began working with master printmaker Kenneth Tyler in the 1960s. Tyler’s first print shop was in Los Angeles. Eventually, he established Tyler Graphics Ltd. in Mount Kisco, New York. Tyler and Stella worked together for 35 years, until Tyler’s retirement in 2001. Together they created new methods of printing that gave rise to a resurgence of the fine art print.
The Trip to Ahmedabad
In 1977, Stella traveled to Ahmedabad, India. His hosts were the Sarabhai family, founders of the Calico Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad.
While in India, Stella created maquettes for the Indian Bird Series (view the 1977 MOMA catalog here), using curved architectural drawing instruments, including Railroad Curves, which are used to chart rail patterns. He then used scrap metal, wire mesh and other found materials to turn the small drawings into mostly unpainted three dimensional works. The works from the Indian Bird Series were completed when Stella returned home and were displayed at the Castelli Gallery in New York in 1979.
These works were inspired by the Exotic Bird Series he had completed just before his trip to India.
Stella Celebrated at Princeton
At age 82, Frank Stella still lives and works in New York. When Kenneth Tyler retired in 2001, Stella stopped making prints and began to focus on more sculptural work. The quality of his prints are still celebrated in galleries and museums around the world.
In 1984, Stella was invited to spend a year lecturing at Harvard, soon after completing a residency at the American Academy in Rome. It was around that time that Stella began to create series of works based on literature, including Moby Dick, possibly the most well-known series of prints.
The prints that Stella created between 1984 and 1999, are currently on display at The Princeton University Art Museum. Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking will run through September 23, 2018.
Frank Stella Fine Art Prints at Surovek
Please contact us if you would like more information about Sinjerli Variation 111, Inaccessible Island Rail or any of the other fine work available at the Surovek Gallery.
Cate McQuaid. A very full survey of prints by Frank Stella. The Boston Globe. May 4, 2017.
Beyond Print: The Kenneth Tyler Collection. Documenting the living history of the National Gallery of Australia’s Kenneth Tyler Printmaking collection. December 19, 2016.
Museum of Modern Art. Museum Library.