2019 55¢ Ellsworth Kelly – "Orange Red Relief"
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: May 31, 2019
First Day City: Spencertown, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 20,000,000
Ellsworth Kelly was one of America's leading artists during his lifetime. His works were popular in galleries and he was often hired to produce commissions for buildings around the world.
Kelly's first commission came in 1956 when he was 33 years old. He was hired to produce the mural-sized Sculpture for a Large Wall for the Transportation Building in Philadelphia. A decade later, he produced Wright Curve, a steel sculpture for the Guggenheim's Peter B. Lewis Theater. In 1969, Kelly was hired to paint a mural for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where he'd found his voice as an artist 20 years earlier. In the years to come, he produced works for Chicago, Singapore, and Houston. In 1987, he made two large Totem sculptures for Barcelona, one reaching 50 feet tall.
By the 1990s, Kelly was in high demand. Among his commissions were a sculpture for the Nestle headquarters in Sweden, one for an art school in France, panels for the German parliament building, and a 28-foot-tall work for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. Most notably, his memorial for the US Holocaust Museum consits of a large white fan-shaped piece opposite three rectangular panels, representing a bird flying over closed windows. His ability to convey such moving imagery with simple shapes is what made his work so sought after around the globe.