Frank Stella is an unstoppable force. His work is so consistently unexpected and, more often than not, so full of youthful nerve that it’s difficult to believe he has been exhibiting for almost half a century—since 1959, when one of his severe, brooding Pinstripe paintings was included in a group show at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. That Stella was then a month short of his twenty-third birthday is unremarkable, these days, but it was noteworthy at the time. Noteworthy, too, was the Museum of Modern Art’s acquiring a major Pinstripe painting later that year. The rest, as they say, is art history, an impressive list ranging from the artist’s inclusion in such seminal shows as Clement Greenberg’s “Post-Painterly Abstraction” in 1964, and Michael Fried’s “Three American Painters” in 1965 (the other two were Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski) to his delivering the Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard in...


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