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Artist Frank Stella, known for his fading art forms, dies at the age of 87

NEW YORK (AP) — Frank Stella, a painter, sculptor and printmaker whose constantly evolving works are hailed as landmarks of the minimalist and post-painterly abstraction art movements, died Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 87.

Gallery owner Jeffrey Deitch, who spoke with Stella’s family, confirmed his death to The Associated Press. Stella’s wife, Harriet McGurk, told the New York Times that he died of lymphoma.

Born on May 12, 1936 in Malden, Massachusetts, Stella attended Princeton University before moving to New York City in the late 1950s.

At the time, many leading American artists had embraced Abstract Expressionism, but Stella began to explore Minimalism. By the age of 23, using house paint and exposed canvas, he had created a series of flat, black paintings with grid-like bands and stripes, which received widespread critical acclaim.

Over the next decade, Stella’s works retained their rigorous structure but began to integrate curved lines and bright colors, as in his influential Protractor series, named for the geometric tools he used to create the curved shapes of the large-scale paintings.

In the late 1970s, Stella began adding three-dimensionality to his visual art, using metals and other mixed media to blur the line between painting and sculpture.

Stella remained productive well into his eighties and his new work is currently on display at the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in New York City. The colorful sculptures are massive yet almost seem to float, consisting of shiny polychromatic bands that twist and meander through space.

“The current work is amazing,” Deitch told AP on Saturday. “He felt that the work he showed was the result of a decades-long effort to create a new pictorial space and merge painting and sculpture.”

The American artist Frank Stella stands between his collages ‘Die Marquise von O…’ (The Marchioness of O…) (left) and ‘Die Verlobung in St Domingo’ (The Engagement in St Domingo) in the Wuerttembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, the gallery of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, in Stuttgart, southwest Germany, September 20, 2001. PHOTO: AP