The US Postal Service is releasing a new collection of stamps honoring Ellsworth Kelly, one of America’s great 20th-century abstractionists, who died at age 92 in 2015.
Kelly, who worked as a designer of camouflage patterns while in the Army, was known for his vibrant, hard-edged color fields. “I’m not a geometric artist,” he once insisted, despite his frequent use of crisp geometric shapes. “Geometry is moribund. I want a lilt and joy to art. My forms are geometric, but they don’t interact in a geometric sense. They’re just forms that exist everywhere, even if you don’t see them.”
The stamps feature tiny reproductions of ten of Kelly’s candy-colored paintings: Yellow White (1961), Colors for a Large Wall (1951), Blue Red Rocker (1963), Spectrum I (1953), South Ferry (1956), Blue Green (1962), Orange Red Relief (for Delphine Seyrig) (1990), Meschers (1951), Red Blue (1964), and Gaza (1956).
In 2007, Kelly’s painting Spectrum VI (in 13 parts) (1969) sold for $5.2 million at auction. At 55 cents apiece, these stamps are a bargain.