Scope and Content Note
The Frank Stella papers, 12.4 linear feet, document the artist's professional and personal life. Papers date from 1941-1993, with the bulk spanning the period 1978-1989. Among the papers are correspondence, a small cache of records from his years as an undergraduate at Princeton University, writings by and about Stella, interview transcripts, sketchbooks, registers and inventories, financial records, printed matter, and photographs.
Correspondence, 1966-1989 and undated (Series 1), consists mainly of incoming letters, many annotated with brief notes indicating Stella's reply, and carbon copies of a small number of replies. Correspondence is with individuals, dealers, institutions and organizations and concerns professionals and personal business matters including awards and prizes, exhibitions, art loans and sales, fan mail; requests for autographs, interviews, studio tours, donations, jury service, exhibitions, critiques, information, lectures, and for Stella's participation in programs or events; legal matters, and political fund raising activities.
Princeton University records, 1954-1958 (Series 2), contain course materials, papers examinations, notes, and Stella's thesis, "Art in Wester Christendom." Correspondence regards university and personal business, including Stella's Selective Service student deferment. Also included are letters from Stella's parents and friends, pencil drawings and sketches, photographs of student work by Stella, and printed matter.
Writings, 1968-1993 and undated (Series 3), consist of articles, talks and lectures by Stella, his Norton Lectures delivered at Harvard published as Working Space, and miscellaneous notes. Writings about Stella are drafts of exhibition catalogs and manuscripts of articles. Interview Transcripts, 1964-1993 and undated (Series 4), include 13 published and unpublished interviews with Frank Stella conducted for publication as magazine articles or as research for exhibition catalogs, and a transcript of an interview with Philip Leider.
Sketchbooks, 1956-1968 and undated (Series 5), 10 volumes, contain sketches in pencil, ink, and colored markers. One includes notes on new paintings, color, and shape; another contains a list of artists and notes on abstract composition. Registers and Inventories, 1959-1983 and undated (Series 6), were compiled for various purposes and record paintings, works in mixed media, drawings, series, inventories prepared by dealers, and miscellaneous notes and lists compiled or collected by Stella.
Financial Records, 1972-1986 (Series 7), document both personal and professional expenses. They consist of banking records, paid bills, payroll, petty cash slips and receipts, and records of race horse expenses.
Printed Matter, 1957-1993 and undated (Series 8), includes articles by Stella and his book Working Space. Articles about Stella include feature stories and interviews, exhibition reviews, reviews of his book, and other articles that mention him briefly and/or include a reproduction of his work. Also included are catalogs, invitations and announcements for solo and group shows, and exhibitions juried by Stella. Other printed matter consists of announcements of limited edition prints, printed matter from events in which Stella participated, and miscellaneous items.
Photographs, 1941-1989 and undated (Series 9), are of people, exhibitions, works of art, places, and miscellaneous subjects. Photographs of Stella include an image of him as a young child, Stella with his wife Dr. Harriet McGurk, with his infant son, and with others. Exhibition photographs are of the opening of "Frank Stella: Neue Werke" at Galerie Würthle, 1984, and installation views of his 1989 show at Knoedler & Co., "Frank Stella: New Work." Photographs of works of art include prints, 35 mm color slides, and color transparencies of works by Stella. Places pictured are views of the Gemini G.E.L. studio, and miscellaneous subjects are horses and a banner at the Metropolitan Museum of art mimicking a black painting (not created or authorized by Stella).