Frank Stella - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, April 16, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'Abstraction didn’t have to be limited to a kind of rectilinear geometry or even a simple curve geometry. It could have a geometry that had a narrative impact. In other words, you could tell a story with the shapes.' 
    —Frank Stella

    Executed in 1998, Konelly is a formidable example of Frank Stella’s sculptural period. The melange of materiality contorts with a complimentary array of colours, blending into new tones at every angle. The aluminium bends into fluidity, ending with protruding spikes at the top, creating a sense of dynamism and energy frozen in time. As an abstract painter, Stella was always interested in shapes and colour, later expressing his vision on shaped canvases. He was drawn toward Minimalist sculpture and produced works which emphasised picture-as-object, rather than a representation of a set subject. He was inspired by Jackson Pollock and Yves Kline, later Jasper Johns. These influences cumulated in Stella’s body of work in his later years as he started experimenting with sculptures and three-dimensional objects of visual representation.

    From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, he began making free-standing sculpture for public spaces and architectural developments. Stella’s work was included in major exhibitions started in the 1960s, among them at the Solomon R. Guggenheim. He was celebrated through a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1970. His art has since been exhibited worldwide in the United States, Europe and Japan, most recently at the Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg in 2012. His interpretation of Colour Field painting, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism became his own unique style neither adhering to their precepts yet still allowing relatability to these movements. By staying true to the creative process as integral to his work, Frank Stella remains one of the most significant artists of his time.

    • Provenance

      Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London (acquired directly from the artist)
      Sperone Westwater, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Heinrich von Kleist by Frank Stella. Werkverzeichnis der Heinrich von Kleist-Serie, exh. cat., Galerie der Jenoptik, Jena, 2001, p. 110 (illustrated, p. 111)

    • Artist Biography

      Frank Stella

      American • 1936 - N/A

      Recognized as one of the most important postwar American artists, Frank Stella pioneered Minimalism with his monochrome “Black Paintings” of the late 1950s that marked a decisive departure from Abstract Expressionism. Concerned with the formal over representative elements of painting, Stella has developed a rich oeuvre reflecting his explorations on painting as an object through his investigations on color, shape, and composition. By the 1960s, Stella turned to bright colors and worked with shaped canvases that radically deemed form itself as content. After briefly experimenting with relief and collage, he ultimately turned to freestanding large-scale sculptures and architectural projects. Still working today in New York City, Stella remains the youngest artist to have had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970 and the first living artist to have had another the following decade in 1987.

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mixed media on cast aluminium
122 x 141 x 105.4 cm (48 x 55 1/2 x 41 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1998.

Full Cataloguing

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £119,700

Contact Specialist


Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

+ 44 20 7318 4065
[email protected]



20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 April 2021