2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly – "Spectrum I"
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
Like many American artists before hime, Ellsworth Kelly was drawn to study in Paris. The six years he spent there opened his eyes as a painter and helped him discover the artistic vision that would define the rest of his career.
Having spent time in Paris as a soldier during World War II, Kelly already had a fascination with the city. He used his GI Bill to study at the National School of Fine Arts and made money teaching art classes at another school. While in Paris, Kelly had his first exhibitions and met a number of artists who influenced his work.
Kelly experienced several breakthroughs while in Paris. For instance, he found himself discovering what he did not want to include in paintings. By removing extra marks, lines, and edges, he developed a simpler, more direct interpretation of the world.
Kelly also noted that while on a visit to a museum, he found himself more drawn to the windows than the art. He created his own version of the windows and claimed that "Painting as I had known it was finished for me." After that, he considered everything he saw to be something he could make, "and it had to be made exactly as it was, with nothing added." For the rest of his life, Kelly's art reflected this new approach, directly inspired by his years in Paris.