1936, Malden, Massachusetts
In 1958, just a few years after graduating from Princeton, Frank Stella began his groundbreaking "black paintings." These austere works were composed of parallel stripes determined by the proportions of the canvas and the width of the paintbrush. They had no meaning beyond their physical form; or, as Stella famously put it, "What you see is what you see."
His subsequent practice, while diverse, has continued his interrogation of abstraction. Paintings based on the rejection of the conventionally rectangular canvas gave way to complex wall reliefs made from paint, cardboard, and felt. He further blurred the distinction between painting and sculpture in baroque works that practically burst off the wall.