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Frank Stella (b. 1936)
Sacramento No. 6
acrylic on linen
103 x 103 in. (262 x 262 cm.)
Painted in 1978.
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1979

Lot Essay

"The concentric square format is about as neutral and as simple as you can get," Stella notes. "It's just a powerful pictorial image. It's so good that you can use it, abuse it, and even work against it to the point of ignoring it. It has a strength that's almost indestructible - at least for me. It's one of those givens, and it's very hard for me not to paint it. It is a successful picture before you start, and it's pretty hard to blow it..."

"The effect of doing it 'by the numbers,' so to say, gave me a kind of guide in my work as a whole. Everything else, everything that was freer and less sequential, had to be at least as good--and that would be no mean achievement. The Concentric Squares created a pretty high, pretty tough pictorial standard. Their simple, rather humbling effect--almost a numbing power--became a sort of 'control' against which my increasing tendency in the seventies to be extravagant could be measured" (Frank Stella quoted in W. Rubin, Frank Stella, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, pp. 43-48).

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