Frank Stella Empress of India 1965

  • MoMA, Floor 1, 1 North

Part of Stella's Notched-V series, begun in late 1964, Empress of India comprises four colored chevron-shaped canvases. Stella deliberately avoided dramatic changes in color intensity, because, he reasoned, "when you have four vectored V's moving against each other, if one jumps out, you dislocate the plane and destroy the whole thing entirely." The lines parallel to the canvas edges, painted in metallic browns and ochers, contribute to Stella's perceptual play of pushing parts of the whole forward and back while maintaining an overall equilibrium. Although it is unclear why Stella chose the phrase "Empress of India" for this painting, the grandly scaled work shares the title taken by Queen Victoria when India was incorporated into the British Empire.

Gallery label from 2007.
Metallic powder in polymer emulsion paint on canvas
6' 5" x 18' 8" (195.6 x 548.6 cm)
Gift of S. I. Newhouse, Jr.
Object number
© 2024 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture

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