2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly – "Blue Red Rocker"
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
While the majority of Ellsworth Kelly's career was spent painting, he also produced a large number of sculptures. Like his paintings, these sculptures focused on form, but their three-dimensional nature pushed Kelly to new limits.
Kelly began experimenting with sculpture in 1958, first working with wood, and later different metals. In 1959, while talking with a friend and playing with the lid from a coffee cup, Kelly felt a spark of inspiration. He cut and folded part of the lid and then rocked it on the table, similar to a child's rocking horse. From this, Kelly produced his first sculpture in his Rocker series, Pony.
Kelly took great joy in sculpting and eventually devoted as much time to it as he did painting. He soon developed a process – he would start by sketching, then create a print, then a freestanding piece, and then the final sculpture. Some of his sculptures were totems, up to 15 feet tall. Others were large wall reliefs streatching over 14 feet wide.
Kelly's sculptures were intentionally simple, made so they could be viewed quickly, even with just a glance. Their stark shapes and smooth, flat surfaces could make it hard to distinguish foreground from background. This made the area around the sculpture part of it, a feature he also worked into his paintings.