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Artists Joseph Stella
Joseph Stella Photo

Joseph Stella

American Painter

Movements and Styles: Futurism, Precisionism, Early American Modernism

Born: June 13, 1877 - Muro Lucano, Italy

Died: November 5, 1946 - Queens, NY

Joseph Stella Timeline

Quotes

"I have seen the future and it is good. We will wipe away the religions of old and start anew."
Joseph Stella
"At my arrival [in Paris], Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism were in full swing. There was in the air the glamour of a battle, the holy battle raging for the assertion of a new truth. My youth plunged full in it."
Joseph Stella
"I was thrilled to find America so rich with so many new motives to be translated into a new art. Steel and electricity had created a new world. A new drama had surged from the unmerciful violation of darkness at night, by the violent blaze of electricity and a new polyphony was ringing all around with the scintillating, highly colored lights."
Joseph Stella
"During the last years of the war I went to live in Brooklyn in the most forlorn region of the oceanic tragic city, in Williamsburg, near the bridge. Brooklyn gave me a sense of liberation. The vast view of her sky, in opposition to the narrow one of New York, was a relief - and at night, in her solitude, I used to find, intact, the green freedom of my own self."
Joseph Stella
"I had witnessed the growth and expansion of New York proceeding parallel to the development of my own life... and therefore I was feeling entitled to interpret the titanic efforts, the conquests already obtained by the imperial city in order to become what now She is, the center of the world."
Joseph Stella

"I was thrilled to find America so rich with so many new motifs to be translated into a new art. Steel and electricity had created a new world. "

Joseph Stella Signature

Synopsis

Joseph Stella's professional career left a lasting mark on American modernism, but it was just as fraught and unsteady as his personal life. Following the hugely influencial 1913 Armory Show, he became a key figure in the New York art world. His style and subject matter changed frequently throughout his career, reflecting his own search for meaning and identity as an immigrant working in a rapidly changing urban America. Perhaps because of his outsider status, his images of industrial America were his most successful and influential. Indeed, his images of New York City landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge are depicted with the power and honesty only truly possible from a truly dynamic mind.

Key Ideas

Although famous for his depictions of American scenes, Stella was never fully at home in his adopted country. Indeed, he spent long spells travelling and working in Europe, only returning to New York when necessary.
Stella was largely responsible for bringing Futurism to the United States, and was a leading figure in the burgeoning Precisionist movement of the 1920s and 1930s. While the subjects and even the style of his work varied, he maintained a Precisionist interest in distinct areas of line and color throughout the duration of his career.
In spite of his very modernist interests, the influence of historical European art movements is ever-present in Stella's work, from the stained glass quality of his paintings, to the references to Renaissance and Gothic architecture and altarpieces. His Italian artistic heritage informed his works throughout the course of his career.

Biography

Joseph Stella Photo

Childhood

Stella grew up in the small mountain village of Muro Lucano, situated over a ravine in the Potenza province of southern Italy, near Naples. The fourth of five brothers, he was a pudgy, solitary, and contemplative child, with few friends his own age. His father and grandfather were attorneys, and their family was prosperous, though Stella showed little interest in pursuing the family vocation. From a young age, he showed a precocious talent for drawing and developed a passionate interest in art. He was also a strong student in school, where he learned both English and French.

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Joseph Stella Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Joseph Stella
Interactive chart with Joseph Stella's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Gino SeveriniGino Severini
Umberto BoccioniUmberto Boccioni
Paul KleePaul Klee
Arthur DoveArthur Dove
Carlo CarrĂ Carlo CarrĂ 

Personal Contacts

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Albert GleizesAlbert Gleizes

Movements

CubismCubism
FuturismFuturism
RealismRealism

Influences on Artist
Joseph Stella
Joseph Stella
Years Worked: 1905 - 1946
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Charles SheelerCharles Sheeler
Charles DemuthCharles Demuth
Georgia O'KeeffeGeorgia O'Keeffe

Personal Contacts

Alfred StieglitzAlfred Stieglitz
Katherine DreierKatherine Dreier

Movements

Early American ModernismEarly American Modernism
PrecisionismPrecisionism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Jen Glennon

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Ellen Hurst

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Jen Glennon
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Ellen Hurst
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