Frank Stella, born in Massachusetts in 1936, is perhaps best known for his unique adaptations of the painterly vocabulary of constructivism in the post-war period. Although his early works appear rigid and angular in structure and composition, Stella's view was that it was exactly the restraining framework that demanded of him a heightened form of overall physical control. In other words, a reversal of the kind of action painting so commonly associated with the abstract expressionist period.
Taken as a whole, Stella's work can in one sense be divided into a number of series or, rather, into a set of elaborated ideas. Green Solitaire, which was created in the latter part of the artist's career, is part of a series that marked a fundamental turn in his oeuvre. At the time, such a radical turnaround was considered a risky diversion from the popularly sought after "signature style" of many artists.
In the mid-1970s, at a time when the rest of the art world was looking towards minimalism and conceptual art, Stella did away with his simple geometrical patterns and made way for a wholly new series of what he called Exotic Birds. These were inspired by the beginnings of a very happy second marriage to Harriet McGurk, an enthusiastic ornithologist.
While the more extravagant shapes seem to oppose his earlier work, they follow a similarly rigid method of production. To this end he engaged formal templates from technical drawing, of which he built up a remarkable collection. In Green Solitaire Stella overcomes the mechanical by adding rich patterns of colour. This was a method he employed throughout the series both on metal as well as in his tycore and silkscreen works. Nonetheless, despite the expressive result of this picture Stella still seems reluctant to a complete abandonment of all things angular. By restraining the picture frame, his so-called "extravagance" was kept at bay - A self-imposed limitation that he would shrug off by the later 1980s. In this sense Green Solitaire could be regarded as one of Stella's final references to the angle before his "second career" reached its full maturity.