USPS: Artist Andrew Wyeth’s 100th Birthday Commemorated Through Forever Stamps

Stamps Highlight 12 Iconic Paintings

CHADDS FORD, PA — Andrew Wyeth, one of the most prominent artists of the 20th-century — whose realistic style defied artistic trends — was commemorated today on his birth centennial with the issuance of 12 Forever stamps highlighting his paintings.

Wyeth Stamp Sheet

The Andrew Wyeth Forever stamps were dedicated in his home town of Chadds Ford, PA, at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. The public is asked to share the news on social media using the hashtags #WyethStamps and #MyBrandywine.

Mastering a realistic style, Wyeth (July 12, 1917 – Jan. 16, 2009) created haunting and enigmatic paintings based largely on people and places in his life, a body of work that continues to resist easy or comfortable interpretation.

“The Postal Service takes tremendous pride in its stamp program, which celebrates the very best of American life, history and culture,” said Patrick Mendonca, U.S. Postal Service Senior Director, Office of the Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer, who dedicated the stamps. “And since today is the centennial of Andrew Wyeth’s birth, it’s the perfect occasion to celebrate the man whose masterful works have found a place in our homes — and in our hearts. Wyeth’s work resonated with millions of art enthusiasts around the globe.  Now, these miniature works of art can touch many.”

Joining Mendonca in the ceremony was Wyeth’s son and acclaimed artist Jamie Wyeth and Brandywine River Museum of Art Executive Director Virginia Logan.

“My father, a prolific letter writer, would indeed be proud that a selection of his paintings now appears on U.S. postage stamps,” said Jamie Wyeth. “He would have relished using them!”

“In a year filled with celebrations marking the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art’s 50th anniversary, we are honored to help the United States Postal Service commemorate Andrew Wyeth’s remarkable career with a set of 12 Forever stamps on what would have been his 100th birthday,” said Logan. “This is an apt moment in time to reassess this artist’s incredible contributions to American art, and we are thrilled to have over 100 of his works currently on display in the Museum as part of the Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect exhibition.”

The Andrew Wyeth Forever stamp pane includes 12 stamps that feature details of different Wyeth paintings. First row, L to R: “Wind from the Sea” (1947), “Big Room” (1988) and “Christina’s World” (1948). Second row, L to R: “Alvaro and Christina” (1968), “Frostbitten” (1962) and “Sailor’s Valentine” (1985). Third row, L to R: “Soaring” (1942–1950), “North Light” (1984) and “Spring Fed” (1967), Fourth row, L to R: “The Carry” (2003), “Young Bull” (1960) and “My Studio” (1974). The selvage shows a photograph of Wyeth from the 1930s.

Andrew Wyeth Forever stamps

“Christina’s World,” inspired by Christina Olson, a disabled neighbor in Maine, is a rich and enigmatic work that inspired decades of interpretation. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City purchased the painting in 1948. Today, “Christina’s World” is one of the iconic works of 20th-century American art. From the sale of “Christina’s World” to the sensational “Helga pictures” unveiled in the 1980s, Wyeth captured the imagination of the American public and established himself as one of the most prominent American artists of the 20th century.

Finding endless inspiration both in his hometown of Chadds Ford, PA, and in rural Maine, he scrutinized the lives, houses, and personal belongings of the people around him, sometimes painting their portraits but just as often using objects and places to represent them. Conveying emotions that were difficult to put into words, Wyeth’s work stood out for its startling austerity and stark lack of color — the artist’s way of reflecting memories, associations, and echoes from his life, including his own distinctive sense of the wondrous and the strange.

In 2017, the centennial of Wyeth’s birth offers an occasion to look anew at a lifetime of remarkable art. With its subtle symbolism and eerie implications, his work invites us to reinterpret his personal vision — and to learn to see layers unnoticed before.

Wyeth’s Inspiration
The son of renowned illustrator N.C. Wyeth, Wyeth was born and raised in Chadds Ford. He and his wife lived there while typically spending each summer and early fall in Maine. In both places, he scrutinized the lives, houses, and personal belongings of the people around him, finding particular inspiration in the German immigrants on a nearby Chadds Ford farm and often painting portraits of them and views in and around their home. By this time, the tendencies that define much of his work were taking shape, among them a focus on death and loss; the use of places and objects to serve as stand-ins for people; an intense and unsentimental scrutiny of nature; and an often startling austerity and stark lack of color.

Rather than depict nature with photographic accuracy, however, Wyeth used painting to convey emotions that were difficult to put into words. His work often reflected memories, associations, and echoes from his personal life, including his own distinctive sense of the wondrous and the strange.

Wyeth received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1990. Sites in Pennsylvania and Maine that influenced his work were recently designated National Historic Landmarks.

Issued as Forever stamps, they will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Andrew Wyeth Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by Sept. 12, 2017.

Ordering First-Day Covers

The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic, online at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free issue of USA Philatelic at usps.com/philatelic, by calling 800-782-6724, or by writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
USA Philatelic Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products

Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:

  • 475006, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $52.92.
  • 475010, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (2 panes), $13.95.
  • 475016, First-Day Cover (set of 12), $11.16.
  • 475021, Digital Color Postmark (set of 12), $19.68.
  • 475024, Framed Art, $39.95.
  • 475030, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
  • 475033, Panel, $17.95.