U.S. Postal Service issues new stamps
Masters of American photography
Includes artists from UD Gallery and Paul R. Jones collections

More than half the photographers selected by the U.S. Postal Service as the nation's most influential are included in the collections of the University of Delaware.

The University Gallery Collection and the Paul R. Jones Collection include works by 11 renowned artists, out of the 20 selected for the new U.S. Postal Service 37-cent stamp issue, "Masters of American Photography."

Arranged in chronological order, the stamps feature works by these 20 most influential photographers and provide a "visual sampling of the history and development of photography in the United States and illustrate changes in American culture and society," the Postal Service said.

The University Gallery collection can be described as "encyclopedic," Debra Hess Norris, chairperson of the Department of Art Conservation and an expert in the preservation of photographic art, said.

"The gallery's holdings have developed slowly and deliberately over time, evolving into an invaluable resource for students and faculty in many disciplines," Belena Chapp, director of museums, added.

With the assistance of faculty like William I. Homer, professor emeritus of art history, an authority on Alfred Stieglitiz and other artists of his circle, and many generous donors, the University Gallery has acquired hundreds of works by major names in photography, including images by these artists featured in the stamp issue:

LEWIS W. HINE (1874-1940) was a documentary photographer who achieved fame as a social reformer. The work in the University Gallery Collection is entitled "Antebellum Negro" and reflects Hine's commitment to communicating the dignity of his humble subjects.

PAUL STRAND (1890-1976) broke new ground with his cubist and nearly abstract photographs. However, the image included in the collection is a sensitive figurative portrait called "Sandwich Man."

GERTRUDE KASEBIER (1852-1934) was a pioneering portrait photographer whose best-known images are of mothers and children. The University Gallery has the largest collegiate collection of her work, with about 185 images, which compares favorably to the prestigious holdings at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Library of Congress.

ALFRED STIEGLITZ (1864-1946) championed the idea of photography as a distinctive artistic medium. Two photogravures by Stieglitz, the famed "Steerage" and "Going to the Start," are both held in the University Gallery Collection.

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975) found beauty in the commonplace and turned documentary photography into an art form.

EDWARD STEICHEN (1879-1973) played a pivotal role in elevating photography to a fine art.

DOROTHEA LANGE (1895-1965) made compelling photographs of the unemployed and uprooted victims of the Great Depression.

ALVIN LANGDON COBURN (1882-1966) was an innovative artist who used soft-focus techniques and unusual perspectives to create abstract compositions.

JAMES VANDERZEE (1886-1983) was a well-known African-American portrait photographer whose work captured the vitality of the Harlem Renaissance. Shortly before his death in the early 1980s, he visited the University of Delaware at the invitation of the Department of Art. At that point, two important works were acquired for the collection. Also, his work is included in the Paul R. Jones Collection.

ANSEL ADAMS (1924-1984) gained fame for his sublime black-and-white interpretations of the Western landscape. The image in the University Gallery Collection, from Adams' Yosemite Portfolio, focuses with a zen-like awareness on cedar branches powdered with newly fallen snow.

WILLIAM HENRY JACKSON (1843-1942) had a keen appreciation for natural vistas, and his work is the stamp issue's selvage image. The University Gallery's Jackson print is a chromolithograph entitled "The Morning Glory," a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. Given by the nationally prominent photography collector, Charles Isaacs, in 1992, the image was distributed around the turn of the century by the Detroit Publishing Company. It will be featured in a University Gallery exhibition on the golden age of American postcard art, scheduled Jan. 14-March 28.

Like the Jackson image, many of these works are periodically presented in public exhibitions. For additional information or to arrange an appointment to see the University Gallery Collection, contact Chapp at 831-8242 or by e-mail at [bchapp@udel.edu].

For additional information on the Paul R. Jones Collection, see the web site at [www. udel.edu/PaulRJonesCollection/] or contact Amalia Amaki by e-mail at [amaki@udel.edu].

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE BEHRINGER, USPS