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Frank Stella, La penna di hu, from the Italian Folktales Series, 1988

Artist: Frank Stella (1936 - )
Title:La penna di hu, from the Italian Folktales Series, 1988
Reference:Axsom 182
Series:Italian Folktales Series, 1988-89
Medium:Relief, etching, woodcut, screenprint, stencil, hand-coloring on white TGL handmade paper
Image:66 in x 55 1/2 in ( 167.6 cm x 141 cm)
Sheet:66 in x 55 1/2 in ( 167.6 cm x 141 cm)
Edition:Numbered from the edition of 50 in pencil in the lower right image.
Signature:This work is hand-signed by Frank Stella (Massachusetts, 1936 - ) in pencil in the lower right image.
Condition:This work is in excellent condition.
ID #W-7084

Historical Description

Frank Stella La penna di hu, 1988 is a stunning first iteration of the artist’s Italian Folktales Series of 1988-89. This work contains several of the same cylindrical and conical shapes that first appeared in his earlier Had Gadya Series. The background is rendered in a beautiful warm orange accentuated with painterly crimson marks across the right side of the composition. In the foreground, the artist illustrates a field of blue in the center with geometric forms in green and black that mimic the shapes that appear in his Cones and Pillars paintings of the 1980s. In this series, Stella employs aquatint printing for the first time to imitate the effect of oil paint brush strokes; this gives the work a hand-painted quality that gives the work a sense of tactility and profundity.

Frank Stella La penna di hu, 1988 is part of a portfolio of eight works in the artist’s Italian Folktales Series of 1988-89. This body of work inspired by his own Cones and Pillars paintings and his Illustrations After El Lissitzky’s Had Gadya Series from four years earlier. The titles of all works in the Italian Folktales works derive their names from Italian short stories. Also featured in this portfolio are La penna di hu (black and white), Bene come il sale, Bene come il sale, State I, Bene come il sale, state II, Bene come il sale, State III, Bene come il sale, State IV, and Giufa e la berretta rossa.

Created in 1988, this relief, screenprint, woodcut, and engraving on white TGL handmade paper is hand-signed by Frank Stella (Massachusetts, 1936 - ) in pencil in the lower right image and numbered from the edition of 50 in pencil in the lower right image.

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:

Frank Stella La penna di hu, from the Italian Folktales Series, 1988 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. The Prints of Frank Stella: A Catalogue Raisonné 1967–1984. Hudson Hills Press: New York, 1983. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 182 on pg. 284.
  2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this artwork.

About the Framing:

Framed to museum-grade, conservation standards, Frank Stella La penna di hu, from the Italian Folktales Series, 1988 is presented in a complementary moulding and finished with silk-wrapped mats and optical grade Plexiglas.

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