One of the most interesting, if not visible, proponents of modern art within the American spectrum has been Frank Stella. He is one of the very few people in the American art world to receive two major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and one of the fewer to receive almost continual lauding by Museum director of painting and sculpture William Rubin. In fact, according to one source, "it is hardly an exaggeration that MOMA treats Stella as Jackson Pollock's true dauphin in the lineage of American abstract painting."1
One of the reasons for Stella's great popularity was the type of abstract painting that became popular in the late 1950s. It had been either previously overlooked, or underrated, by the majority of patrons and critics alike, but was now finding a larger market and more opportunities for exhibition. Thus,
. . . among the New York avantgarde, however, the near euphoria that had prevailed in the years following the war clearly began to disappear by the later 1950s. Ironically enough, at the very moment of its public triumph, Abstract Expressionism was experiencing a period of serious reappraisal and selfexamination, not to say a crisis of conviction. When Frank Stella, having just graduated from Princeton, threw himself into the life of the New York art world in 1958, [other prominent expressionists were no longer in the limelight]. . . The art that Stella saw around him was less that of the original pioneers of the new American painting than that of a group of weaker artists the "Tenth Street" or "second generation" painters who had ridden the create of Abstract Expressionism to the center of the scene in the midfifties.2
This paper will present an overview of the artistic style and triumph of Frank Stella. It will outline his accomplishments, and will dwell on the questions regarding an influence of his style, and the ways that his mode of expression changed from his youthful ...