Abstract Expressionist Stamps!

The Postal Service is continually teetering on some sort of disaster with threats of privatization, ending Saturday delivery and closing post offices (even the mailbox at the end of my street mysteriously vanished last week, I presume it was a victim of downsizing). However, these gloomy prospects haven’t stopped them from launching what look to be a very attractive, new stamp sheet that feature the major players of Abstract Expressionism. 

abstract expressionists.jpg

Relative to us in Chicago, a work by Joan Mitchell is featured (also
sort of breaking up what is usually considered a “boy’s club”), who was
born here in Chicago and also studied at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts there in
1947.  However, the Mitchell work represented on the stamp is not held in Chicago.

Hans Hofmann’s The Golden Wall is featured on the stamp sheet and the work itself is in Chicago, held in the collection of the Art Institute.  There is no word if the painting will be on view.


Hans Hofmann. “The Golden Wall,” 1961. Oil on canvas. In the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Post Office has arranged an event at the Modern Wing to celebrate the new stamps: “As part of the dedication ceremony, James
Rondeau of the Art Institute will give a brief talk on the significance
of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and discuss the paintings represented
on the stamps.”

I love that the monumental canvases of Abstract Expressionism have been reduced literally to stamp-sized, fundamentally changing the experience of the work.  Not to mention their increased commodity status, 44¢ for a version of a Pollock.  Does this signify that the Avant-Garde has officially become Kitsch?  Either way, I’ll probably be buying this sheet of stamps.

Leave a comment