Frank Stella - Monstrous Pictures of Whales
American, b.1936
Monstrous Pictures of Whales, 1993
Lithograph, etching, aquatint, relief and screenprint, 47.5 x 75.625 inches
Artist Proof V (from an edition of 38)
Tyler Graphics Ltd.

Gift of Judy and J.D. Williamson II (BBA '67, MBA '68)

Frank Stella was the most prominent artist among a new generation of American abstract painters who emerged during the early 1960s. Developing a new form of geometric abstraction, known as Formalist or Minimalist, Stella also contributed the concept of the “shaped canvas” - a non-rectangular painting on deep stretchers that has an almost architectural presence. This type of abstraction was to be read by the viewer for Formalist meaning - expressiveness deriving from pure color and form.

Monstrous Pictures of Whales is a mixed media print from the Moby Dick Deckle Edges series. It is linked to 135 paintings, reliefs, collages, and prints that constitute Frank Stella's most ambitious project to date. Each work carries the name of a chapter from Herman Melville's Moby Dick. For this, Stella blended various print media on a large sheet of handmade paper to realize a complex image of interesting forms generated, in part, by computer. In a combination of spontaneous and more mathematically styled forms, Stella's large-scale print prompts associations with churning seas, breaching forms and whale shapes. Its sweeping forces are a fitting visual counterpart to the character of Melville's epic novel.