The Gifts of Frank Stella
March 25 – July 30, 2017
To celebrate the retrospective of prints by Frank Stella, this installation honors the artist’s innovative, rich career and his long-standing generosity both as a donor and visiting artist to the Addison Gallery of American Art and Phillips Academy, from which he graduated in 1954. While a student, Stella began to seriously pursue art, studying under the guidance of teachers Patrick Morgan and Gordon (Diz) Bensley. As he recalled, “At Andover I was already interested in art, but the opportunities there seemed to thrust themselves at me.”
As he took art classes in the basement of the museum and learned from the collections in its galleries, Stella found great inspiration in the Addison’s environment. Reminiscing about his experiences, he has said, “If a young person walks through a gallery of American painting in 1950 and confronts the work of Copley, Inness, Sargent, Eakins, Remington, Homer, Dove, Hartley, Hofmann, Pollock, and Kline he will want to paint like Hofmann, Pollock, and Kline, admiring Hartley and Dove for the proximity to the former, and acknowledging the rest for their accomplishment and effort in facing the task of art. Looking at what happened and is happening, one has to want to do what is happening. Immediate sources count for a lot.”
In 1991, keen to expand the Addison’s offering of “immediate sources,” Stella teamed up with then director Jock Reynolds to organize an Addison Art Drive, aimed at strengthening the holdings of contemporary art. Kicking off an ambitious campaign to add one hundred significant works to the collection, Stella invited Reynolds to select works from his personal collection. The masterworks assembled here—by artists such as Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, and Stella himself—reflect that magnanimous and transformative gift.