Frank StellaNew Caledonian Lorikeet
Mixed media on tycore board
Titled, dated and signed F.Stella on the back
21.26 x 27.95 x 4.72 in ( 54,5 x 71 x 12 cm )
Inquiry - New Caledonian Lorikeet, 1977


Private Collection, Belgium


Stella 1970-1987, Paris, Musée national d'Art moderne, centre Georges Pompidou, 1988, p.23


"Frank Stella 1970-1987", Musée National d'Art moderne, 18 mai - 28 août 1988

Artwork's description

New Caledonian Lorikeet (1977) from the Exotic Birds series is a relief on tycore (rigid honeycomb cardboard). Like for the other works in this series, Frank Stella was inspired after his trip in Brazil, by birds on the verge of extinction, here, the New Caledonian Lorikeet. Through these works, the artist pays tribute to his friend Franck Gehry, using templates from naval and railway architecture. Thus in his conception Frank Stella's line constantly follows the curves of these rigid forms so that the hand is never completely free. These pieces on tycore panel precede the larger aluminum works from the same series.

The Exotic Birds are a complete break from Stella's earlier works. In the face of insistent and rationalist rigor of the stripe paintings, the artist proposes fantasy and improvisation; against "tight" execution, a loose and painterly handling. And against what had earlier appeared to be a suppression of illusionisme, the relief make room for an exploration of certain visual ambiguities.

To many it seemed as if these highly colored reliefs could hardly have been made by "the painter of the stripes". How to explain that the one who defined himself in 1959 by his geometry, his minimalism and the thinness of his lines, be the same one who, fifteen years later, embraces a vocabulary so luxuriant and of such a profusion of colors and dimensions.