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Frank Stella (b. 1936)
Private collection, California
Frank Stella (b. 1936)

Protractor Variation

Details
Frank Stella (b. 1936)
Protractor Variation
signed and dated 'F. Stella '68' (on the right turning edge)
acrylic on shaped canvas
60 x 120 in. (152.4 x 304.8 cm.)
Painted in 1968.
Provenance
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 1985

Lot Essay

In 1970, William S. Rubin wrote that, "owing to their partial and occasionally wholly circular formats, the pictures of the Protractor series are, in the first instance, anti-tectonic in a way hitherto unknown in Stella's work. But they are also, paradoxically, the first that might be termed unremittingly architectural in both size and scale... The combination of the architectonic and the curvilinear is inherent, in this sense, in the very protractor motif on which this series is built, since the semi-circle of the protractor rests firmly on its rectilinear base... [Robert] Rosenblum observes 'the springing vaults of the arcs, some reaching as high as four feet above one's head, turn the painting into something that verges on the architectural, a work that might rest on the floor and be subject to natural physical laws of load and support... the razor-sharp interlocking of points of stress all contrive to plunge the observer into a dizzying tour-de-force of aesthetic engineering'".

(W. Rubin, Frank Stella, New York, 1970, pp. 131-132)

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