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Frank Stella: Paintings 1958 -1965
6 September - 17 November 2007

Peter Freeman, Inc. is pleased to present a rare view of five major paintings by Frank Stella from the pivotal years 1958 to 1965. Stella, born in 1936, is an iconic figure of Post-War art and considered by many to be the most influential painter of his generation. The five paintings in this exhibition have rarely been exhibited, though they are all essential markers in the evolution of his artistic idiom, from his experimental beginnings as a maverick young painter to his establishment as a leading figure of his generation just seven years later.

The sensuous yet unsentimental "Your Lips Are Blue" (1958), with its free-floating text, stripe pattern, and atmospheric color fields more akin to Abstract Expressionism, began the artist's historic shift into new territory; it is one of only two such paintings with text still to exist.

"Yugatan," one of the artist's nuanced "cancelled" landscapes, also dates from the transformative year of 1958 and is one of only two black paintings that immediately precede the artist's fully-mature and watershed "Black Series" that began the same year.

The National Gallery of Art has kindly lent the gallery "Delta" (1958), the critical first true "Black Painting." It was "Delta," with its alternating mat and glossy stripes honed by formal flatness, that both laid a cornerstone of Minimalism, and opened a door to everything Stella invented. Stella himself considers "Delta" to be the single most important work of his long and prodigious career.

"Palmito Ranch" (1961), a six-and-a-half foot square stripe painting in bright yellow, is one of only six large-scale paintings that made up the important "Benjamin Moore Paintings" series (named for the Benjamin Moore alkyd house paint he used). "Bafq" (1965), a more exotic dazzle of mixed orange, green and purple bands in which the image of the painting transforms its actual shape, is one of only four large canvases from the "Persian Paintings," all named for ancient cities in Iran.

Frank Stella's work has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, both in the U.S. and abroad, the most recent of which was "Frank Stella: 1958" organized in 2006 by the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, and also shown at The Menil Collection in Houston, and the Wexner Center, Columbus.