Hagamatana II
Date 1967
Medium Polymer and fluorescent polymer paint on canvas
Dimensions 305.4 x 458 x 7.5 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-554
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At the start of 1967, Stella began work on the Protractor series, which, over the course of three years, would lead him to paint three different versions of thirty-one configurations, or ninety-three paintings in total, almost all of which were on a gigantic scale. The decorative character of these works was affirmed through arabesque and colour effects. Using curves for the first time, he employed a module based on a circle with a diameter of three metres. The work is divided into five ‘structures’, each delimited by an outer coloured strip that passes over the underlying network of intersecting curves. The four curved strips of colour in the upper half of the canvas simultaneously belong to these ‘structures’ and to the play of curves. The painter plays with this ambiguity in order to confuse the spectator’s gaze. The base of these walls of colour is reinforced by the horizontal line in the lower part of the painting. Each work begins by being carefully drawn on a small scale with the help of a protractor (hence the name of the series) before being executed by the painter's assistants. These paintings owe their names to the ancient cities in Asia Minor that the painter visited in 1963 after becoming very interested in Islamic art: Hagmatana is the ancient name of the city of Hamadan, which is currently in Iran.
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; acquired at Sotheby's, New York, 1 March 1995.