Frank Stella, Polar Co-ordinates V, 1980

Artist: Frank Stella (1936 - 2024)
Title:Polar Co-ordinates V, 1980
Reference:Axsom 123
Series:Polar Co-ordinates for Ronnie Peterson, 1980
Medium:Lithograph, Screenprint, and Letterpress on Arches Cover Paper
Image Size:38 1/2 in x 38 in (97.8 cm x 96.5 cm)
Sheet Size:38 1/2 in x 38 in (97.8 cm x 96.5 cm)
Edition:This work is numbered from the edition of 100 in pencil in the lower right.
Signature:This work is hand-signed and dated by Frank Stella (Massachusetts, 1936 - ) in pencil in the lower right.
Condition:This work is in excellent condition.
ID #w-8049

Historical Description

Frank Stella Polar Co-ordinates V, 1980 is an enigmatic print that is from the Polar Coordinates for Ronnie Peterson series. Using the title as a reference to graph paper and an homage to one of Stella’s friends that tragically died during the Grand Prix in Monza in 1978, Swedish auto racer Ronnie Peterson, he celebrates the life of his esteemed friend through an abstract grid shaped work that encapsulates Peterson’s memory.

The works in the “Polar Co-ordinates” series are derived from Stella’s “Saskatchewan Series” paintings that were completed between 1967-1970. Divided into four semi-circular arcs, the composition forms a geometric flower motif that is reminiscent to a four-leaf clover. Using only the grid pattern to swirl and create a net around the floral form, Stella inspires colors and movement into the traditional diagrams of polar co-ordinates graph paper. Showcasing his understanding of color theory, he mixes colors together and scribbles over one another with colorful, swirling grid backgrounds to create a new work, free of their original source material.

The multi-step process used to create these prints brings together varying density of colors, different shapes, calligraphic scribbles, and the polar grid leading to a disintegration of form.

This disintegration marks the series as an essential part of his oeuvre where elements from his past works, which relied on creating form with color-blocking, are juxtaposed with the unravelling of form and color. Stella's works over the succeeding decade shift from minimalist, hard-edged geometric abstraction to riotous baroque works exploding beyond the canvas. One could say that these prints are the bridge between Stella's minimalist/geometric phase of his career and the hyper-colorful baroque "later work".

Created in 1980, this lithograph, screenprint, and Letterpress on Arches Cover  paper is hand-signed by Frank Stella (Massachusetts, 1936 - ) in pencil in the lower center image and numbered from the edition of 38 in pencil in the lower right.

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
Frank Stella Polar Co-ordinates V, 1980 is fully documented and referenced in the below catalogue raisonnés and texts (copies will be enclosed as added documentation with the invoices that will accompany the sale of the work).

  1. Axsom, Richard H. The Prints of Frank Stella: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York: Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, 2016.
  2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this artwork.

About the Framing:
Framed to museum-grade, conservation standards, Frank Stella Polar Co-ordinates V, 1980 is presented in a complementary moulding and optical grade Plexiglas.