• Modern Art in America Stamps – gorgeous!

    Man-Ray-Art-in-America-Stamp-USPSRecently, the USPS released this collection of Modern Art in America stamps — featuring work from famous American Artists from 1913-1931. Odds are — you’ve heard of at least a few of these artists — and even if you haven’t, there is a mini art lesson on every sheet. Packing 18 years of important American art history into this set of stamps is not this collection’s only draw — the miniature famous works of art elevate letters and bills to gallery status — making the mundane nature of mail that much more exciting. Perhaps these art stamps will inspire you to visit an art gallery — or simply write a note to a far away friend, carefully curating their stamp by selecting the piece of art that you think they’ll enjoy most.

    From the description on USPS.com:

    With this sheet of 12 Modern Art in America 1913-1931 (Forever®) stamps, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates a dozen modern artists and their works, 100 years after the groundbreaking Armory Show opened in New York in 1913. The dozen masterpieces reproduced in the stamp art were created between 1912 and 1931.

    Stuart-Davis-USPS-art-in-America-stamp

    Stuart Davis’s vibrant depictions of contemporary commercial objects made him an important precursor of the later Pop artists. His oil-on-canvas painting, House and Street (1931), presents two views of a street in New York, forcing the viewer to be in two places at once.

    Charles-Demuth-USPS-art-in-america-stamp

    Charles Demuth, a leading watercolorist of his era, created his “poster portraits” of friends such as the poet William Carlos Williams, the subject of the work I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928), in oil, graphite, ink, and gold leaf on paperboard.

    Aaron-Douglas-Art-in-America-USPS-stamp

    Aaron Douglas was the most important visual artist to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. The gouache-on-paper painting, The Prodigal Son (1927), was created in a modernist style that has been described as “Afro-Cubism.”

    Arthur-Dove-Art-in-America-stamp-USPS

    Arthur Dove was one of modern art’s earliest abstract painters and was probably the first American artist to paint a totally abstract canvas. Dove was interested in attempting to duplicate sound as colors and shapes. The oil-on-canvas painting, Fog Horns (1929), suggests the peal of foghorns at sea.

    Marcel-Duchamp-USPS-art-in-America-stamp

    Marcel Duchamp, an important forerunner of the Pop art and conceptual art movements, outraged and disturbed many viewers by irreverently flouting artistic convention. His oil-on-canvas painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), was the most talked-about work at the Armory Show of 1913.

    Marsden-Hartley-USPS-Art-in-America-Stamp

    Marsden Hartley was one of America’s greatest modernist painters. His oil-on-canvas work, Painting, Number 5 (1914-15), is an abstract composite portrait of Karl von Freyburg, a young German officer who was killed in World War I.

    John-Marin-Art-in-America-stamp-USPS

    John Marin was the preeminent watercolorist of his era. He transformed the medium by experimenting with abstraction, such as in his watercolor-on-paper painting, Sunset, Maine Coast (1919).

    Gerald-Murphy-Art-in-America-stamp-USPS

    Gerald Murphy produced only about a dozen works in less than ten years as a practicing artist, yet today he is recognized as a significant painter whose work prefigured the Pop art of the 1960s. The oil-on-canvas painting, Razor (1924), typifies Murphy’s work in its detailed depiction of commonplace objects.

    Georgia-O-Keefe-Art-in-america-stamp-USPS

    Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the foremost painters of the 20th century. Widely known for her close-up flower paintings, O’Keeffe also famously painted urban and desert landscapes, including this oil-on-canvas painting, Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie’s II (1930).

    Man-Ray-Art-in-America-Stamp-USPSMan Ray was associated with some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century—chief among them Dadaism and Surrealism—and is best known for his photography. His gelatin-silver print, Noire et Blanche (1926), is from a series of photographs juxtaposing a woman’s face with a Baule mask (or a replica) from West Africa.

    Charles-Sheeler-Art-in-America-stamp-USPS

    Charles Sheeler explored the balance between abstraction and realism in his photographs and paintings, which often depicted aspects of the mechanized modern world. By titling this oil-on-canvas painting American Landscape (1930), Sheeler explored the relationship between rural traditions and his modern subject matter.

    Joseph-Stella-Art-in-America-Stamp-USPS

    Joseph Stella, America’s first Futurist painter, is remembered for his multiple images of the Brooklyn Bridge and other iconic New York scenes. The oil-on-canvas painting, Brooklyn Bridge (1919-1920) has been read as a comment on the tension between technological achievement and the spiritual dimension implicit in any human endeavor.

    The stamp sheet also includes a quote by Marcel Duchamp and verso text that identifies each work of art and briefly tells something about each artist. Art director Derry Noyes worked on the stamp sheet with designer Margaret Bauer.

    Modern-Art-in-America-stamps-USPS

    Special thanks to the USPS for giving us permission to show these stamp designs on our website. For more information on these stamp designs, check out the article about the Modern Art in America stamps on Beyond the Perf – the online extension of the USA Philatelic catalog.

    Readers, which stamp is your favorite?
    (Mine is the Duchamp, but Pam is the boss and she loves the Man Ray, so that one led!)

  • Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

    Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

    Comments

    1. Great collection; hard to pick a fave. Might go with Demuth.

    2. The Sheeler! I am having flashbacks to the history of modern art class in college. What really sticks in my mind though is the New Yorker cartoon labeled “The rude descending the staircase” (rush hour in the NYC subway) which was a parody on Duchamp’s painting.
      This was a nice lunch time diversion.

    3. Robin, NV says:

      I really like the Hartley. Expressive, colorful, WWI – it really punches all my buttons. I’d buy these but I wouldn’t want to use them. How sad to mark over them with a postmark.

    4. I like most of them, but the one by Stuart Davis stands out is my favorite.

    5. MURPHY!!! He’s always my favorite.

    6. Neat to do American Modern stamps. Out of these I’d probably choose Duchamp but I also like the Aaron Douglas.

    7. I am completely torn between Duchamp, Demuth, and O’Keeffe. I was recently fortunate enough to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe. After learning more about her life story I fell in love with her as a person, a modern woman, and a soulful artist. Her art really began to develop after the death of her controlling, manipulative, cheating husband. Although she loved him she only truly felt free after and it shows in her later work.

    8. I like Sheeler, followed by Man Ray, and then Murphy. I like to be able to recognize the stuff in the pictures.

    9. OMG! Many of my all time favorite artists are represented on those stamps. Thank you so much for making me aware of this. I will be buying a sheet or two!

    10. TappanTrailerTami says:

      O’Keefe! What a great collection, I’ll be sure to buy some of these!

    11. for me, many ray is the epitome of the modernist movement – with the purity and symmetry of the forms

    Leave a Comment --

    If you are under 14 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
    Here are the full legal terms of use you agree to by using this comment form.

    (required)