Public Art

Stubb’s Supper

By Frank Phillip Stella
Category: Sculpture


Stubb’s Supper is one of a series of metal relief paintings that Stella began around 1975. It was inspired by a visit to see whales with his sons and his admiration for Herman Melville’s novel Moby DickStubb’s Supper is the title of one of the classic novel’s chapters, which tells the story of the late night supper of Stubb, the sadistic second mate. In the story, Stubb wakes up excited during the night and orders some of the crew to cut him whale steaks from the enormous sperm whale tied to the side of the ship. Then he rouses the cook to make them for him. Stella stated that the idea of this series, consisting of over 100 prints and relief paintings all named after chapters in “Moby Dick,” was an attempt to create narrative action in abstract forms. And, as Jeff Daniels of the Post-Dispatch points out: “We see the whale. We see the blood. We feel the impact of the blade.”

From Missouri Botanical Garden website.

Dimensions: 90.25″ x 117.5″ x 54″
Year Completed: 1998
Material: Cast bronze, cold steel, stainless steel and paint
Owner: Missouri Botanical Garden

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