Frank Stella (1936–2024)

“What you see is what you see.” —Frank Stella, 1936–2024


Frank Stella, Scramble: Ascending Yellow Values, Descending Spectrum, 1978. Acrylic on canvas. Gift of Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen, in honor of Susan M. Taylor, 2023.53.

Frank Stella was one of the most important figures of modern painting and sculpture in the United States, ushering in a generation of American art marked by formalism.

Produced across decades, Stella’s work shows an endless exploration of color, shape, and geometry—from his earliest paintings to later large-scale public sculptures. The famed quote above sums up Stella’s desire to create art beyond the limits of representation—where color and form do not necessarily signify a person, place, object, or meaning.

We share our deepest condolences with Stella’s family and loved ones following the artist’s passing last week.