Friday, December 14, 2012

"Modern Art in America" Forever® stamp collection

Modern art will become the latest Forever® stamp collection offered by the United States Postal Services.

"Modern Art in America" is the 2013 collection picked to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show in New York, the first exhibition to introduce modern art to American audiences on a large scale.

Twelve works, dating from 1913 to 1931, will be reproduced on a sheet of adhesive Forever stamps which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate. The collection will be available in early 2013.

The dozen masterpieces reproduced on the stamp pane were created between 1912 and 1931 and include

House and Street (1931), Stuart Davis;

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928), Charles Demuth;

The Prodigal Son (1927), Aaron Douglas;

Fog Horns (1929), Arthur Dove;

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), Marcel Duchamp;

Painting, Number 5 (1914-15), Marsden Hartley;

Sunset, Maine Coast (1919), John Marin;

Razor (1924), Gerald Murphy;

Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie's II (1930), Georgia O’Keeffe;

Noire et Blanche (1926), Man Ray;

American Landscape (1930), Charles Sheeler;

and Brooklyn Bridge (1919-20), Joseph Stella.

The stamp pane also includes a quote by Marcel Duchamp and verso text that identifies each work of art and briefly tells something about each artist.

The International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the Armory Show, opened in New York City on Feb. 17, 1913. This watershed exhibit, held at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue at 25th Street, presented more than a thousand works, about a third of them by European artists.

At the Armory Show, Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 excited derision as well as admiration. Duchamp and other European painters greatly influenced American artists, including those who created the works shown on this stamp pane. Like Duchamp, who became a U.S. citizen, modern art — and modernity itself — soon found a congenial home in America.

Modern art’s greatest promoter in America during this period was Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and gallery owner. Stieglitz championed the era’s greatest painters and photographers, including many of the artists shown on this stamp pane. His own work was represented on the Masters of American Photography stamp pane issued in 2002.