DescriptionFRANK STELLA (American, b. 1936)
Eskimo Curlew (3X), 1977
Enamel, oilstick and crushed glass on corrugated aluminum
54 x 69 x 13-1/2 inches (137.2 x 175.3 x 34.3 cm)
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Robert and Jane Meyerhoff, Baltimore
Lawrence Rubin, New York
Christie's, New York, Post War and Contemporary Art, 16 November 2006, lot 224
From the collection of Murray and Haia Goldenberg, Dallas (acquired from the above)
'Beginning with the Exotic Birds, there is a sense of expansiveness - a confidence and freedom - in Stella's art that stands alone in the abstract painting of the seventies and eighties. Free now of the pervasive a priori planning demanded by the seriality of the stripe paintings, Stella could enjoy the painterly execution of the metal reliefs in a more spontaneous way. The mood of Stella's work becomes, for the first time, exuberant. And the sense of the painter as homo ludens established in these pictures has persisted to the present' (W. Rubin, Frank Stella: 1970-1987, exh. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, p. 77)
Whereas Stella's earlier work were defined by geometric order, via stripes or progression, in the Exotic Birds series, there is no immediately recognizable system or order. Instead he utilizes curves and linear forms derived from draftsman's tools - such as the French curve that draftsmen use to make smooth rendering of complex curves. The composition of Eskimo Curlew is solidly anchored within the rectangle, which contrasts with the exuberant handling of paint and glittery crushed glass on the sweeping, curving surfaces of the aluminum.
General scattered dirt accretions and patina to extreme edges of metal, along with discoloration to metal surface from visible water marks on the surface (only visible from the side); with close inspection scattered areas of paint loss overall in areas of heavier paint build-up.
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