2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly – "South Ferry"
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
During World War II, Ellsworth Kelly volunteered his services to the war effort. His time with the Army went on to provide major inspiration during his career as an artist.
Inducted into the Army at the start of 1943, Kelly requested to serve with the 603rd Engineers Camouflage Battalion. In this service, Kelly cut out the stencils used to paint the camouflage designs on military tanks, jeeps, and other vehicles. He also learned screen printing and helped produce posters that presented the best concealment techniques for soldiers.
In 1944, Kelly became part of a deception unit named "Ghost Army." The Ghost Army built vehicles out of chicken wire to divert enemy attention away from real troops. In June 1944, Kelly went to France and continued his deception work. In his free time, he wandered Paris, sketching parks and architecture. He remained in Europe until the summer of 1945, when he returned home and was discharged.
Kelly's work in camouflage was a major influence on his later work. The use of color, form, and the construction and deconstruction of objects would all become prevalent in the years to come. The army had also brought him to Paris, where he would return in a few years and fully develop his style and voice as an artist.