2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly – "Yellow White"
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 did not consider himself to be an artist of a particular style. He simply sought to explore art in his own way and create a unique experience for his viewers.
For the bulk of his career, Kelly produced abstract paintings. They were often based on things he had seen in everyday life – the lines of a window, shadows cast on stairs, the shape of a sewer grate... Kelly felt it was his mission to find these items in the world and present them. However, he claimed that his paintings didn't represent objects, rather "they are objects themselves." An important part of this practice was that he only wanted to paint what he saw, without adding meaning. He said that "Most people see with their minds rather than their eyes. I work hard at refining and keeping my eye engaged. I want the form to speak. I don't want you to investigate the surface. I want you to read the form in relation to yourself."
Many of Kelly's paintings consisted of multiple single-color canvases, layered over each other or spread out across a wall. He also experimented with irregularly-shaped canvasses. These large-scale installations made the area around the paintings part of the art, challenging the viewers' perceptions of space. As Kelly described it, he was trying to capture "the reality of flux" and "get at the rapture of seeing."