The Quarter-Deck, 1989

Lot 32
10 00012 000
Silkscreen, litograph, colour linocut, marbled, hand-coloured, collage on paper Edition 58/60 109 x 171 cm Stella’s Quarter-Deck is full of sharp, bright colours, and displays a number of techniques such as marbling. The piercing dark shape in the upper half of the image has been likened to Ahab’s fractured leg, which makes sense in the context of the work’s title. This piece is named after the 36th chapter of Moby Dick, which contains a key moment in the story, when Ahab convinces the rest of the ship’s crew to be a part of his personal quest to seek revenge on the White Whale. Thus while it is an abstract work, elements of figuration seem to creep in, reflecting some of the complexities of abstract painting that Stella was working through. In an interview in 1995 he discussed the difficulty of abstraction, commenting that «it’s pretty impossible to have truly abstract painting, even if you begin with the abstract, non-figurative base, which I actually do.»