2013 46¢ Joseph Stella
Modern Art in America
Issue Date: March 7, 2013
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10 1/2
Joseph Stella’s painting Brooklyn Bridge is one of twelve featured on the Modern Art in America: 1913-1931 stamps.
Italian-born artist Joseph Stella (1877-1946) painted in many styles, but he is most remembered for creating America’s first Futurist work.
Stella first came to America in 1896 to study medicine, but found a passion for art. Stella first worked as an illustrator and painted in the Realist style. It wasn’t until he returned to Europe in 1909 that he first witnessed Futurist art. The Futurists encouraged artists not to look to the past for inspiration, but their own era. Stella also embraced their idea of illustrating multiple impressions and senses in a single work. Upon returning to New York in 1913, he painted Battle of Lights, Mardi Gras, Coney Island, which is considered to be the first Futurist painting created in America.
After becoming an American citizen in 1923, Stella worked on the nation’s Federal Art Project and then traveled to Europe, North Africa, and the West Indies. Over the course of this trip, he discovered and explored many new styles and themes. Stella experimented with abstraction and surrealism and painted scenes of cities, religious figures, nature, landscapes, and still lifes.
Among his noted works is New York Interpreted, which was patterned after classic religious panels. By replacing saints with bridges and skyscrapers, Stella’s art gave voice to the idea that industry was replacing religion as the center of modern life.