2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 31, 2019
First Day City: Spencertown, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 20,000,000
Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) was one of the most influential abstract artists of his generation. Throughout his life, he created art focused on color and form, without personal meaning. The resulting works were visual experiences that challenged the traditional concept of art.
Kelly grew up in New Jersey, where he developed an appreciation for nature while birdwatching. His days spent observing nature would later direct the way he approached his art. After attending the Pratt Institute, Kelly volunteered for the Army during World War II. He helped create camouflage for tanks and was part of the Ghost Army, a deception unit that drew German fire away from US troops.
After the war, Kelly briefly attended school in Boston before traveling to Paris. His eyes were opened there, taking in the art and architecture, and experimenting with abstraction for the first time. In Paris, Kelly developed his artistic style, capturing everyday items through simple shapes and colors.
When he returned to America, Kelly's work stood out. Most American artists were practicing abstract expressionism, which focused on emotional expression. But Kelly's work was more abstract in that he sought to remove emotion from it. His massive painting installations and sculptures grew popular and soon were featured in public buildings and art galleries around the world. Kelly would go on to receive numerous awards and honors, including the National Medal of Arts.
Kelly had a major influence on Pop Art, Minimalism, and hard-edge and color field painting. Today, he is beloved as an independent artist whose popularity is as monumental as the artworks he created.