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Abstract Expressionism, The Postage Stamp


I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to pre-order these.

This Thursday, the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, will host the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the U.S. Postal Service’s new commemorative stamps—Abstract Expressionists (above).

Here’s the USPS description of action postage:

In celebration of the Abstract Expressionist artists
of the 20th Century, [USPS] art director Ethel Kessler and noted art historian
Jonathan Fineberg (Gutgsell Professor Art History, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) selected 10 paintings to feature on this
colorful pane of self-adhesive stamps. Kessler used elements from
Barnett Newman‘s “Achilles” (1952) to frame the stamps.

The arrangement of
the stamps suggests paintings hanging on a gallery wall [salon-style, I suppose]. For design
purposes, the sizes of the stamp are not in relative proportion to the
paintings. The pane also features selvage text and a quotation by Robert
. [“The function of the artist is to express reality as felt.”] Each stamp includes the artist’s name and verso text that
identifies the painting and briefly tells something about the artist.

And here are the 10 large canvases that will be reduced to postage-stamp size. Four of them (the Gorky, Pollock, Rothko and Motherwell) are from the Albright-Knox’s collection:

  • The Golden Wall (1961)Hans
  • Romanesque Façade (1949)Adolph
  • Orange and Yellow (1956)Mark
  • The Liver Is the Cock’s Comb (1944)
    Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)
  • 1948-C (1948)Clyfford
  • Asheville (1948)Willem de Kooning
  • Achilles (1952)Barnett Newman
  • Convergence (1952)Jackson Pollock
  • Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 34 (1953-1954)
    Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
  • La Grande Vallée 0 (1983)
    Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)

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