Menu Search
About Us
The Art Story Homepage Artists Joseph Stella

Joseph Stella

American Painter

Joseph Stella Photo

Born: June 13, 1877 - Muro Lucano, Italy

Died: November 5, 1946 - Queens, NY

"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

Summary of Joseph Stella

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.
Joseph Stella Photo

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.

Most Important Art

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterSave on PinterestSend In Facebook MessengerSend In WhatsApp
Support Us