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This tondo (round canvas) was painted shortly after Stella embarked on a tour of Paris, Rome, Florence, and Naples in 1909. The purpose of Stella’s trip was to study the old masters and absorb the current trends in European art. In pre-WWI Europe, Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism were in full swing. This period was crucial in the formation of Stella’s version of modernism. Stella describes the progress made during his first Paris period (c. 1911): “I took up Post-Impressionism, not as a fad, but a necessity at the time…Technically speaking, the question of values and color interested me the most. The color of Matisse haunted me for months: I could feel in it a great force and a great vitality not dreamed of.”

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