Charles Carpenter understood the significance and originality of Frank Stella's black paintings when he saw the artist's 1959 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. In their severity and austere beauty, they recalled Ad Reinhardt's black paintings. Yet Carpenter knew they were entirely different. Their sheer scale and physicality brought new issues into the dialectic between art and architecture. Always practical, even though something of a romantic as an art collector, Carpenter watched Stella's subsequent evolution very patiently and waited for the right moment. It came in 1970 when he bought the brilliantly colored and rigorously composed Untitled, 1968, from the Lawrence Rubin Gallery. It was the perfect scale for Carpenter's collection and it set a room full of Kellys and Reinhardts alight with the coloristic interplay of reds, oranges, gray, blue and black. Carpenter's installation highlighted the differences between the three painters even while demonstrating their common interests in shape, color and geometric form. As Carpenter wrote of two of his favorite painters, "Kelly is the classicist. Stella is the baroque artist."
-Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D.