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Frank Stella (American, b.1936)
LOT ID: 78880
Angriff ("Attack") from Conspiracy: The Artist as Witness, 1971

Screenprint
18 х 24 in. (45.72 x 60.96 cm.)
Signed, stamped, dated and numbered by Frank Stella
features publishers' distinctive blindstamp recto
verso features Frank Stella's copyright stamp (see photo)
Edition 150
Foundry/Publisher Published by: The Center for Constitutional Rights, David Godine, 1972, Printed by: Styria Studio, New York
Lot description
Frank Stella's "Anrgiff" is a minimalist screenprint in 2 colors (black and grey) from one of the most desirable and influential eras, the early Seventies. It was proofed under the supervision of the artist and printed by hand on watermarked C.M. Fabriano 100% handmade rag at Styria Studio, New York, bearing their distinctive blindstamp.

This starkly powerful work is reproduced as a full page plate in the catalogue raisonne of Frank Stella's prints. According to the raisonne, the image and title "is a political iconography of persecution, made trenchant by the ironic title Angriff. Der Angriff (the word means 'attack' in German) was a Nazi newspaper founded by Goebbels in 1927 and used as one of his principal propaganda organs. The specific Nazi connotations revive the iconographical concerns of the Black paintings (Frank Stella 1958-60)."

Stella's hand signed and numbered "Angriff" was created for the legendary portfolio "Conspiracy: the Artist as Witness", published by the Center for Constitutional Rights, to raise money for the legal defense of the Chicago 7, a group of anti-Vietnam War activists indicted by President Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell for conspiring to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (1968 was also the year Bobby Kennedy was killed and American casualties in Vietnam exceeded 30,000.) The eight demonstrators included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. (Bobby Seale was severed from the case and sentenced to four years for contempt after being handcuffed, shackled to a chair and gagged - hence the "Chicago 7".) Although Abbie Hoffman would later point out that these (now famous) radicals couldn't even agree on lunch, the jury convicted them of conspiracy with one juror expressing the view that the demonstrators "should have been shot down by the police." All of the convictions were ultimately overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The print has impeccable provenance: it comes directly from the original Conspiracy Portfolio #23/150 which also featured works by Alexander Calder, Jack Beal, Romare Bearden Leon Golub-Nancy Spero, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley, Peter Saul and Raphael Soyer. It was housed in an elegant cloth case, accompanied by a colophon page and excerpts from the trial itself by the defendants as well as their attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass.

This is the first time since 1971 that this important lithograph has been removed from the original portfolio case and offered for sale. It is in fine condition, a superb impression, never framed.

For fans of Frank Stella, and collectors of Art of the Sixties, and especially protest art, as well as those who still believe in social justice, this work with its anti-Nazi connotations, created to support American anti-war protesters of the Sixties, has special significance.

Many other editions of "Angriff" are already off the market and in the permanent collections of major museums and educational institutions worldwide, so it's still quite uncommon and always desirable in such fine condition.

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ANGRIFF (Attack) from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Frank Stella
  • ANGRIFF (Attack) from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Frank Stella
  • ANGRIFF (Attack) from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Frank Stella
  • ANGRIFF (Attack) from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Frank Stella
  • ANGRIFF (Attack) from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Frank Stella
  • ANGRIFF (Attack) from CONSPIRACY: The Artist as Witness by Frank Stella
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