Service has issued in 1998 a palette of artistic issues. They include a pane of 20
commemoratives reproducing, in its opinion, the best of American art from colonial times
to the present century.
The twenty American paintings are featured on the pane of 32-cent stamps. The Postal Service has named them "American Masterpieces" and also "Four Centuries of American Art".
The chosen masterpieces cover the past 400 years, offering a wide range of styles and themes. The following stamps were released:
Issued August 27, 1998
| What's that red blob on the Four
Centuries of American Art pane issued August 27? For that matter, what are the two stamps
to its left doing on a group of 20 stamps that are supposed to represent outstanding art?
Some of the other stamps may not be great art but at least they are representational of earlier time periods. Is abstract nonsense the best representation of American Art from the second part of the 20th century? Are Charles Sheeler's "Two Against the White," Franz Kline's "Mahon-ing" and Mark Rothko's "No. 12" some of the influential pieces in art of America as the U.S. Postal Service suggest? If so that doesn't say much for the evolution of art in this century.
Art is certainly a matter of interpretation but it seems to me that what's passing for good art in some circles is a sad affair. Those who picked these three stamps must be the same people passing off urinals and blank walls as "art." It's a real con game and people with too much money on their hands seem to be highly susceptible. From: Editor's Forum, by Peter Martin, Scott Stamp Monthly, Dec, 1998, p. 6.
For subject matter, design, appropriateness and impact, my favorite 1998 stamps item was the Four Centuries of American Art pane minus the three "modern art" stamps that were supposed to represent the best American art of the later half of the 20th century. Even though most of the stamps are details instead of the full blown paintings, the stamps are still "miniature works of art" and help to portray the diversity of American culture... The Red Blob in the pane gets the nod as the worst design. From: Editor's Forum, by Peter Martin, Scott Stamp Monthly, February 1999, page 6.
Unfortunately for Mr. Peter Martin and for all of us, the "abstract nonsense" he quotes IS "the best representation of American Art from the second part of the 20th century". I understand by "the best representation" not a mark of quality, but a proof of artistic and philosophical influence. What followed after these already 50-year-old modern "masterpieces" was often even worse (visit any modern arts museum for evidence and then get some fresh air ASAP). V. Manta.