Duchamp Forever: Postal Service to Issue ‘Modern Art in America’ Stamps

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known as the Armory Show for its venue, the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue at 25th Street in Manhattan, but not to be confused with the present-day Armory Show. The 1913 exhibition, where the Metropolitan Museum of Art snapped up Cézanne‘s 1887 “View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph,” ushered in “The New Spirit” (the show motto) for Americans who hadn’t yet caught wind of the international avant-garde scene that was then already scandalizing Europe.

“The exhibition of the new art from Europe dropped like a bomb,” wrote architect-turned-artist Oscar Bluemner in a 1913 issue of Camera Work. “Before the people could gain their breath, some prune-fattened authorities of the old regime at once hurled the pits and stones of their wrath and contempt against the cubists.” Speaking of prune-fattened authorities (just kidding!), the United States Postal Service loves a good centennial and is seizing this one to issue “Modern Art in America” Forever stamps.

Out in early March and now available for pre-order, the stamps (pictured) feature a dozen works created between 1912 and 1931, including “Brooklyn Bridge” (1919-20) by Joseph Stella, Man Ray‘s “Noire et Blanche (1926), “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” (1928) by Charles Demuth, and Georgia O’Keeffe‘s “New Mexico / Out Back of Marie’s II” (1930). Marcel Duchamp, whose “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” (1912) is represented, gets the last word in the form of a quote at the bottom of the stamp sheet, the work of art director Derry Noyes and designer Margaret Bauer. Noted the artist in 1915, “America is the country of the art of the future.”