U.S. Postal Service Honors Abstract Expressionists
Ten Revolutionary Works of Art Make Debut as Postage Stamps
BUFFALO, NY — The U.S. Postal Service today (Mar 12, 2010) honored the artistic innovations and achievements of a group of artists who moved the United States to the forefront of the international art scene with the release of the Abstract Expressionists commemorative postage stamps. The vibrant stamps feature works by Hans Hoffmann, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Joan Mitchell.
“These bold artists used art to express complicated ideas and primitive emotions in simplified, abstract form,” said Linda Kingsley, USPS senior vice president, Strategy and Transition. “Although these stamps can’t compare in size to their real-life canvases, they bring the passion and spirit of abstract expressionism to an envelope near you. The Postal Service is proud to pay tribute to the legacy and unique perspectives of these revolutionary artists.”
Abstract expressionists believed that art no longer depicted experience but became the experience itself. They emphasized spontaneous, free expression and allowed personal intuition and the unconscious to guide their choice of imagery. Other shared traits include the use of large canvases and an emphasis on paint texture and distinctive brushstrokes.
"The abstract expressionists began one of the most important art movements in the last century, placing New York and American art at the very center of the art world for the first time,” noted Louis Grachos, director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, home of four of the works featured on the stamps. “The Albright-Knox Art Gallery was one of the first museums to begin collecting abstract expressionist paintings, and we are very proud that work from our collection was chosen by the Postal Service as some of the finest examples of the period.”
*Barnett Newman (1905-1970) created deceptively simple works often characterized by large, even expanses of a single color punctuated by one or more vertical lines, which he called “zips.” One of several works based on ancient Greek mythology, Achilles (1952) does not feature a zip but rather a swath of red paint that moves down the canvas to end in a ragged edge.
In the next couple of weeks I'll post the next 8 two at a time.