Referendum ’70

Frank Stella
Referendum ’70

An original hand-signed Frank Stella screenprint print.


Original screenprint in six colors (yellow, green, pink, red, plum, black) from six runs from six screens on Special Arjomari wove paper

Hand-signed and dated in pencil in the margin lower right F. Stella ‘70

A superb impression of the definitive state, from the edition of 200, numbered in pencil in the margin also lower right (there were 23 additional proofs of various types for an overall edition of 223). Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles; printed at Gemini by Jeff Wasserman and Robert Dressen under the supervision of Kenneth Tyler. Bearing the Gemini G.E.L. blindstamp and embossed copyright in the sheet lower right, and its ink stamp in grey along with the Gemini work number in pencil verso.

Catalog: Axsom 49; Gemini Work Number FS70-362; National Gallery of Art 51.66 (online catalogue raisonné).

40 x 40 inches

Frank Stella, like many artists of his generation, was politically active and engaged. Stella participated in several fundraising efforts where he donated an edition to a worthy cause, such as anti-war demonstrations or the Attica Defence Fund (in 1974).
This work was part of two prong strategy to help the organization “Referendum 70″ which was raising funds to support political candidates who were opposed to the Vietnam war. Stella created two screenprints. One was an edition of 200, signed and numbered. The second (offered here) was also a screenprint, printed at Gemini G.E.L., on identically sized 40″ X 40” paper with “Referendum 70” printed boldly at the base, from an edition of 150.
Aesthetically, the “Referendum” screenprints are associated with the Newfoundland Series, which are variations of Stella’s famed protractor paintings from 1967-1970. If we situate this work on Stella’s timeline, it is all occurring at a pinnacle of creative and critical success. Stella’s unique hard-edge geometric paintings and prints are becoming more ambitious in scale, structure and color. In 1970 the Museum of Modern Art, New York presented a retrospective of Stella’s work making him the youngest artist at the time to receive such a distinction.
Stella began working in printmaking in the mid-sixties and it would continue to be an important part of his practice. This is the one of largest sized prints Stella would create during the 1970’s at Gemini G.E.L.