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Currier Museum of Art in New Hampshire acquires three important Contemporary works of art
Robert Indiana (b. 1928), Decade Autoportrait 1963, oil on canvas. Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire. Museum Purchase: The Henry Melville Fuller Acquisition Fund, 2012.49. © 2013 Morgan Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
MANCHESTER, NH.- The Currier Museum of Art has acquired major works of art by Pop artist Robert Indiana (b. 1928), and abstract artists Frank Stella (b. 1936) and Sam Gilliam (b. 1933).

“These paintings build the Currier’s collection of post-World War II American art and provide our community with major examples by artists who were instrumental in the development of American painting in the second half of the 20th century,” says Andrew Spahr, director of collections and exhibitions.

Singerli, Variation I, 1968, belongs to Frank Stella’s extraordinary “Protractor series,” which he created in the late 1960s. The title, Sinjerli, refers to an ancient city in the Near East whose exterior wall formed an almost perfect circle. The monumental paintings in this series are composed of carefully delineated bands of overlapping color created using protractors and rulers, which help define very specific geometric areas. If you look closely, you can even see the artist’s pencil marks on the enormous ten-foot diameter painting.

Frank Stella first emerged on the national scene in the late 1950s as an artist affiliated with Minimalism. He responded to the painterly qualities of the Abstract Expressionists with works composed of bold, geometric shapes that reinforce the flatness of the canvas and reveal almost no brushwork.

Decade Autoportrait 1963, is one of ten paintings that Robert Indiana created in 1971 that reflect on his life in New York City in the 1960s. The painting typifies how Indiana created bold, graphic images using words, numbers and the names of people and places that held special meaning for him during his years living in lower Manhattan.

This painting will be featured in a focus exhibition opening November 27. Also on view will be the recently acquired Decade Portfolio. This collection is comprised of ten prints Indiana made in 1971 representing flagship works he created in the previous decade. The range of subjects documents the personal influences and national events that shaped Indiana’s art of the 1960s; from art history and literature to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

In the 1960s Indiana achieved worldwide acclaim for his iconic image of the word LOVE, which he incorporated in many of his paintings, sculptures and silk screen prints, and which later became a best-selling U.S. postage stamp. Today, Robert Indiana stands as a key figure in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

In Color field artist Sam Gilliam’s Rotunda Unwound (2005), colorfully painted muslin hangs in dramatic folds from the gallery wall. One of Gilliam’s Drape paintings, its title refers to its original installation, suspended from the ceiling of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s rotunda in Washington, DC, where Gilliam had a major retrospective in 2005. It has a flexible, rather than fixed, form, and will sometimes hang from two fixed points on the gallery wall as it is now, or from one wall anchor, or the ceiling. Gilliam began his series of Drape paintings in the late 1960s, creating works that are equal parts painting and sculpture.

These acquisitions are currently on view in the Currier’s contemporary gallery.

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