2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly – "Colors for a Large Wall"
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 was known primarily for his large, brightly colored paintings, but he experimented with other art styles as well. Though his line drawings appear starkly different from his paintings, they were rooted in the same exploration of abstraction and capturing the world around him.
From a young age, Kelly had an interest in nature, spending much of his childhood outdoors. While in Paris in the late 1940s, he abandoned portraiture for plants, which he found more interesting. Most of these drawings were done in the automatic style, where he drew the plant without looking down at the paper, and sometimes not lifting the pencil from the paper.
When he moved to New York in the 1950s, Kelly kept a corner of his studio filled with plants to draw. While he continued to produce increasingly abstract paintings, he enjoyed the variety that his plant drawings offered. With clean strokes and no shading, he was able to convey volume and depth in his elegant drawings. In the 1960s, he took his drawings one step further when he made them into lithographs, a form of printmaking.
While Kelly's plant drawings scarcely resembled his paintings, their focus on form and shape made them undeniable expressions of his vision of the world. And he credited his early drawings of plants as the bridge that led him to abstract painting.