Frank Stella was born in 1936 in Malden, Massachusetts. He studied painting at the Phillips Academy in Andover and at Princeton University, graduating in 1958 with a degree in history. After his graduation, Stella moved to New York and completed his renowned series of Black Paintings. Regarded as a precursor to Minimalism, these paintings garnered immediate recognition: four were included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s Sixteen Americans 1959 exhibition, and Alfred Barr, the museum’s director, purchased one for the permanent collection shortly thereafter.
In 1960, Stella’s Aluminum Paintings, his earliest shaped canvases, were exhibited in his first solo exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, and 1961 brought his first solo exhibition abroad at Galerie Lawrence in Paris. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, his work was included in a number of significant exhibitions that proved to define the art of the time, including Geometric Abstraction (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1962), Toward a New Abstraction (The Jewish Museum, New York 1963), The Shaped Canvas (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1964-65), Systemic Painting (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1966), XXXII Venice Biennale (1966), Dokumenta 4 (1968), New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-70 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1970), Structure of Color (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1971).