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Frank Stella
Bene come il sale
etching, aquatint, and relief print on handmade paper
Image (Sight): 75 1/4 × 59 inches (191.1 × 149.9 cm)Framed: 79 1/4 × 62 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (201.3 × 158.1 × 6.4 cm)
Credit Line
Kirk Varnedoe Collection, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, Gift of the Artist.
Accession Number
Frank Stella is an iconic post-war American artist. Born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1936, he earned a degree in history from Princeton in 1958. He moved to New York where he achieved great success as a young artist and exhibited with Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Louise Nevelson, among others, in the seminal 1959 exhibition Sixteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art. In the mid-1960s, Stella began producing prints as part of his collaboration with master printers at the Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles.

Stella’s early work is characterized by rigorous geometric and minimal paintings and has evolved into different interpretations of abstraction, exploring new mediums and formats and then incorporating those into his work allowing translations between painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Throughout his career, Stella has worked in several series that focus on a particular theme or style for each.

Bene come il sale, which translates to “as dear as salt,” is from Stella’s Italian Folktales series that takes Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales (1956) as point of departure. Bene come il sale takes methodologies and imagery developed in Stella’s Pillars and Cones series (1984-87), where Stella was incorporating imagery such as architectural elements and columns, cones, and building dynamic space between these shapes to explore the narrative capacities of abstraction.