Frank Stella: Had Gadya

On View:

September 7, 2023 – March 2, 2024

Frank Stella: Had Gadya

“Frank Stella: Had Gadya” — Then came a dog and bit the cat, 1984.
© Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

One might not immediately associate Frank Stella (b. 1936), the American painter, sculptor, and printmaker noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction with a cumulative, lyrical poem that concludes the traditional Seder, or festive meal, on the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Had Gadya (One Little Goat) is one of the earliest recorded songs for children. Just as each verse of the song builds on one before it, Stella builds on the original 1919 series of prints by Russian-Jewish avante-garde artist El Lissitzky (1890–1941). Lissitzky, who began his career illustrating Yiddish children’s books, created a print for each stanza of the famous song. Stella first encountered these works in the Tel Aviv Art Museum in 1981 and was profoundly inspired by their movement and the vibrancy of the simplified, graphic forms.

Frank Stella’s Had Gadya print series took two years to complete. The large prints were created using a combination of various techniques—lithography, linoleum block, silkscreen, and rubber relief with collage elements and hand-coloring. The prints were finally published by Waddington Graphics, London, in 1984. After completing the edition, Stella created between two and nine variants of each of the twelve Had Gadya illustrations.

The Skirball Museum is the second venue for a national tour of the three Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion campuses in North America. Frank Stella: Had Gadya appeared at the Los Angeles campus March 31–December 31, 2022 and will be on view at the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum on the New York campus September 7, 2023 – March 2, 2024.

All in-person events take place at Mayerson Hall, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH.

Thursday, March 23 at 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm ET

5:30 pm ET | Reception
6:15 pm ET | Remarks by Elissa Oshinsky, lender of the Stella prints. Oshinsky will share the story of how she acquired the series.

Reservations recommended.


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