Are These New Ellsworth Kelly Stamps the Most Beautiful Stamps Ever? Yes, They Are

Plus, the Blanton Museum just got a huge cache of Kelly works to add to its collection.

Ellsworth Kelly's new Forever Stamps. Courtesy of the USPS.
Ellsworth Kelly's new Forever Stamps. Courtesy of the USPS.

For fans of Ellsworth Kelly, today is a day to celebrate.

In honor of what would have been Kelly’s 96th birthday, the United States Postal Service has released a set of 20 new postage stamps bearing the artist’s work. The set reproduces some of his most famous paintings, including Colors for a Large Wall (1951), which is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

And in Austin, Texas, the Blanton Museum just got quite a gift: 76 Kelly works, 67 of which come from the collection of the artist’s husband, photographer Jack Shear, who also serves as the president of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

A large portion of the works are directly related to Austin, the Kelly-built temple that sits on the Blanton campus, which consumed the last thirty years of his life. It was finally unveiled in 2018, five years after his death.

Ellsworth Kelly, <i>Floor Plan of Chapel</i> (1987). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Floor Plan of Chapel (1987). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Since Austin was unveiled, some 170,000 visitors have flocked to the work. The building is inspired by the many Romanesque and Cistercian cathedrals Kelly encountered while he was living in France after the Second World War.

Some of the newly acquired Blanton works give insight into the lengthy process of sketching, planning, modelling, and building the temple, which is dotted with square-shaped stained glass windows.

Ellsworth Kelly's Austin (2015) at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. ©2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin (2015) at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

The rest of the donated works include paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings, some from the collection of Douglas S. Cramer, who was an early collector of Kelly’s work. He first commissioned Austin for his own private land, though that version of the project was never completed.

See more of the donated works below.

Ellsworth Kelly, Model for Chapel (1986). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. ©2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Model for Chapel (1986). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Romanesque Series (1973-76). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. ©2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Romanesque Series (1973–76). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, <i>Romanesque Head</i> (1949). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. ©2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Romanesque Head (1949). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, <i>Red Relief with White</i> (2007). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Red Relief with White (2007). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, <i>Mother and Child</i> (1949). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. ©2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Mother and Child (1949). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, <i>Drawings from 12th Century Manuscripts</i> (1948). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. ©2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ellsworth Kelly, Drawings from 12th Century Manuscripts (1948). Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. © 2018 Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.


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