Live Now on Artnet Auctions: How Poland’s Historic Synagogues Inspired This Frank Stella Masterwork

Stella's monumental work 'Rozdol I' (1973) is currently being offered with Artnet Auctions.

Frank Stella, "Rozdol I," 1973. Available now in Post-War & Contemporary Art on Artnet Auctions. Est. 800,000 —1,200,000 USD. © 2021 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Regarded as one of the most influential living American artists, Frank Stella is famed for his used of geometric patterns and shapes in creating both paintings and sculptures. Rozdol I (1973), from the artist’s “Polish Villages” series is a masterwork, monumental in its size and historical significance. Artnet Auctions is currently offering this seminal work in its Post-War & Contemporary Art sale—live now through May 19 at 1:00 p.m. (EST). More information about Rozdol I (1973) and Stella’s “Polish Villages” can be discovered here, in a 3D virtual exhibition presented by Artnet Auctions.

Rozdol I (1973) signifies Stella’s first foray into relief, pushing the boundaries of painting, and demonstrating a shift from his previous explorations of the shaped canvas towards the dramatic geometries that would echo in his artistic trajectory. This work is also notable for its exhibition history. It has been exhibited at museums and galleries around the world, including, notably, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland. 

Following Stella’s first retrospective, which opened at the Museum of Modern Art in March 1970, he began working on his Polish Villages series. The project, which spanned three years, was inspired by the book Wooden Synagogues (1959) by Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka. As Stella flipped through the book, gifted to him by his close friend, architect Richard Meier, he became entranced by the distinct verticality and jutting angularity of the wooden Polish synagogues built in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that were destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. Each work in Polish Villages bears the name of a Nazi-destroyed synagogue that served as visual and theoretical inspiration to Stella. 


Frank Stella’s work consistently sells for more than its high estimate, signaling a high demand.


Since 2013, demand for Frank Stella’s work has been on an upward trend. Close to 200 works by Stella appear on the secondary market annually, and year after year, the majority of those lots sell for more than their high estimate. This signals an increasingly high demand for his work.

Furthermore, demand for works from the “Polish Villages” series has spiked in recent years. In gallery exhibitions as recent as 2019, works from the series have sold for close to $1.5 million, and auction results have set a benchmark at $980,000. Estimated at $800,000 —1,200,000, Rozdol I (1973) is exceptionally well-priced for a work of its scale from such a coveted series. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact the specialist for this lot, CJ Greenhill Caldera, with any questions or concerns.

Specialist, Contemporary Art

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