P07404 [from] POLAR CO-ORDINATES I AND II 1980 [P07404-P07405; incomplete]
Both inscribed ‘F Stella 80’ bottom left P 07404 inscribed ‘80/100’, P 07405 inscribed ‘67/100’
Two screenprints with lithography, printed and published by Petersburg Press, New York, each 38 1/2×38 (97.8×96.5)
Purchased from Petersburg Press (Grant-in-Aid) 1980
Lit: Richard H. Axsom, The Prints of Frank Stella, New York 1983, nos.119 and 120
From a set of eight with the full title ‘Polar co-ordinates for Ronnie Peterson’. In these prints, for the first time, Stella used new and independant imagery for prints rather than following specific paintings. He did, however, use working drawings for the paintings ‘Flin Flon’ (the four-petal shape in ‘I’) and ‘Saskatoon’ (the circle and arcs in ‘II’) as a basis for the configurations in this set (both paintings are from the ‘Saskatchewan’ series 1967–71). The images were originally drawn in the central square leaving a border, but Stella worked over the edges of the plates (and the finished paper size), though leaving the edge of the main image discernable. Work began in the Spring of 1978. He used lithography for the grid lines and linear drawing, and screenprinting from paintings on mylar film for the colour washes, metallic colours and glitter. Besides the eight, two variants were also editioned, and some of the grid-pattern plates were later cut up and used in the ‘Shards’ 1982, although the images in that set are very different. The set is dedicated to the Swedish racing driver Ronnie Peterson who was killed at Monza in 1978. The connections with motor racing (a great enthusiasm of Stella's) in these images lead to more specific formal references in later works, for instance ‘Circuits’, based on motor racing tracks.
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984