Meet the Masters
STELLA, JOSEPH (1877-1946)
THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE WHITNEY MUSEUM NEW YORK
20th Century American
Date: 1939 Size: 70” x 42” Medium: Oil on canvas
ARTIST - Joseph Stella came from Italy to the United States when he was twenty-five years old, and later returned to Italy. He became a serious artist after being trained as a commercial artist and worked as an illustrator for popular journals in New York. While working on a commission to draw steel mills for a magazine, he decided that modern industrial subjects should form the subject matter of his art. He was very impressed and excited by the urgent speed of American Urban life. "I was thrilled," he said, "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."
PRINT - The painting The Brooklyn Bridge is a visual song of praise to a structure that was considered an industrial and engineering triumph. This delight of industrialization is a positive expression of twentieth century technology. It was the opposite of the German Expressionists, who thought that such mechanization was dehumanizing. Stella frequently used the Brooklyn Bridge as the subject of his paintings. Towers, cables, and beams of light were all combined with distant skyscrapers, tunnels and water to create a dynamic vision of united space, light, form and color. By using bright colors, perspective, geometric shapes and interlocking forms, he created a dynamic painting praising the bridge.
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