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Masterpiece Postage: Museum-Owners of “Modern Art in America” Identified


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Late on Friday, a CultureGrrl reader/librarian and a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service almost simultaneously e-mailed to me the list I was waiting for—the names of the museums that own the originals reproduced on the glorious Modern Art in America stamps, above, to be issued on Mar. 7 (but available for pre-order now).

The Whitney Museum is one of three institutions (also including the Museum of Modern Art and Yale University) that have two works in this philatelic display. How much more appropriate would it have been for the USPS to have celebrated its first-day-of-issue ceremony not at a commercial art fair (New York’s Armory Show) but at the Whitney Museum, whose current permanent-collection show, American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe, includes rich mini-exhibitions of works by almost all the postal-service designees?

There’s a recent precedent for an art museum ceremony: When the USPS came out with its Abstract Expressionist stamps two years ago, the commemorative ceremony was held at that issue’s main “lender”—the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, owner of four of the 10 reproduced works.

In any event, here are the museum credits for the 12 modern Americans to be enshrined on “forever stamps” (left to right, top row to bottom row on the above sheet):

Charles Demuth, “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold,” 1928, Metropolitan Museum of Art
John Marin, “Sunset, Maine Coast,” 1919, Columbus Museum of Art
Stuart Davis, “House and Street,” 1931, Whitney Museum of American Art
Marsden Hartley, “Painting, Number 5,” 1914-15, also from the Whitney
Georgia O’Keeffe, “Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie’s II,” 1930, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Man Ray, “Noire et Blanche,” 1926, Museum of Modern Art
Aaron Douglas, “The Prodigal Son,” 1927, Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Charles Sheeler, “American Landscape,”1930, also from MoMA
Joseph Stella, “Brooklyn Bridge,” 1919-20, Yale University Art Gallery
Gerald Murphy, “Razor,” 1924, Dallas Museum of Art
Marcel Duchamp, “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2,” 1912, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Arthur Dove, “Fog Horns,” 1929, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

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