Joseph Stella  (American, 1877-1946) 

Joseph Stella (American, June 13, 1877–November 5, 1946) was a Futurist painter known for his association with the American Precisionism movement and his works depicting industrial America. Stella was born in Lucano, Italy. In 1896, he relocated to New York, NY, to study medicine. After becoming interested in art, Stella left his medical studies and began to study art at the Art Students League of New York. While there, he studied under William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916). During this time, Stella's early works featured a Rembrandt style and depicted scenes from city slum life.

Between the years of 1905 and 1909, Stella was employed as an illustrator. He was commissioned to paint a series based on industrial Pittsburgh in 1908. While visiting Italy in 1909, Stella was exposed to Modernism for the first time. This exposure would later heavily influence his unique personal style. He also became associated with several Italian Futurist artists during this time. In 1913, Stella returned to New York and painted several works, including Mardi Gras, Battle of Lights, and Coney Island. He also participated in the New York Armory Show of 1913.

During the 1920s, Stella became interested in the geometric lines reflected in the architecture of Lower Manhattan. In the works he produced during this time, Stella combined the elements of Futurism and Cubism. His most famous work, featuring the Brooklyn Bridge, was produced during this time. Another well-known work produced in this period is New York Interpreted. Comprised of five panels, this work depicts various skyscrapers and bridges. The work reflects a popular concept of the time that industry would eventually take the place of religion in modern life. In the 1930s, Stella traveled throughout the world and was inspired by such locations as North Africa and the West Indies. During this time, Stella utilized a variety of styles, including Realism, Surrealism, and Abstraction. These works included religious themes, city themes, nature and botanical studies, and Caribbean landscapes. The artist died on November 5, 1946.

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Joseph Stella, Nocturne II


Joseph Stella
Nocturne II
circa 1919

James Reinish & Associates, Inc.
Joseph Stella, Abstraction


Joseph Stella

Pensler Fine Art
Joseph Stella, Landscape (South of Italy)


Joseph Stella
Landscape (South of Italy)
Pensler Fine Art
Joseph Stella, Flowers


Joseph Stella
Addison Rowe Gallery
Joseph Stella, Lily and Bird


Joseph Stella
Lily and Bird
circa 1919

James Reinish & Associates, Inc.
Joseph Stella, Thistles


Joseph Stella

Robert Funk Fine Art
Joseph Stella, Still Life of Books and Chinese Lanterns


Joseph Stella
Still Life of Books and Chinese Lanterns
Robert Funk Fine Art
Joseph Stella, Water Lily and Woodchuck


Joseph Stella
Water Lily and Woodchuck
Robert Funk Fine Art
Joseph Stella, The Veiled Lady (The Persian Lady)


Joseph Stella
The Veiled Lady (The Persian Lady)
Hirschl & Adler Galleries
Past auction results (491)  View All
Joseph Stella, Head of a Man


Joseph Stella
Head of a Man
pencil on paper


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Joseph Stella, Untitled (Shell Still Life)


Joseph Stella
Untitled (Shell Still Life)
oil on canvas


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Joseph Stella, Still Life with Pomegranate


Joseph Stella
Still Life with Pomegranate, 1929
oil on canvas


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1877   Born June 13 in Muro Lucano, Italy
1896 - 1897   Emigrates to New York in 1896; studies at The Art Students League, New York, 1897
1898 - 1900   Studies under William Merritt Chase at the New York School of Art
1901   Attends Chase’s summer school in Shinnecock, Long Island
1900 - 1905   Lives in Lower East Side, Manhattan
1905 - 1908   Works as illustrator to earn money
1909 - 1910   Travels to Europe, primarily Italy
1910   Solo show of drawings at Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; exhibition travels to Chicago and New York
1911   Lives in Paris; meets avant-garde artists, including: Modigliani, Matisse, Carra, and most likely Severini and Boccioni
1913   Participates in Armory Show, New York
1914   Painting Battle of Lights, Coney Island is exhibited in group show at Montross Gallery, New York; travels to Europe for summer
1915   Meets Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp at Walter and Louise Arensberg’s New York apartment (Arensberg’s collection becomes the core of the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art)
1919 - 1920   Shows at Bourgeois Gallery, New York, including retrospective exhibition in 1920; Katherine Dreier appoints Stella to exhibition committee of Société Anonyme, along with Duchamp and Man Ray
1922 - 1923   Serves as one of forty directors of the Salons of America; exhibits New York Interpreted, a large painting at the Société Anonyme
1925   Solo show at Dudensing Galleries, New York; exhibits there through 1935
1926   Travels to Europe and remains in Naples for most of next eight years, with occasional trips to France and New York; exhibits work at Valentine Gallery, New York; Galerie Sloden, Paris; and Galerie Jeune Peinture, Paris
1928, 1931   Solo shows at Valentine Gallery, New York
1930   Visits North Africa
1934   Returns to New York to live with his wife in the Bronx across from the New York Botanical Garden
1935   Employed for next two years in easel division of Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project
1936   Solo exhibition at the Cooperative Gallery, Newark (later to become known as Rabin & Krueger where Stella’s work is exhibited through 1975)
1937 - 1939   Travels to Barbados, 1938; retrospective at The Newark Museum, New Jersey, 1939
1940   Elected member of American Federation of Painters and Sculptors
1941   Solo exhibition at Associated American Artists, New York
1942   Solo show at Knoedler Galleries, New York
1946   Dies of heart attack on November 5th; buried in Woodlawn Cemetry, Bronx, New York
2008   Paradigms and the Unexpected: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL
2007   The Societe Anonyme: Modernism for America, First Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
2007   Modernisms, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
2006   Seletions from the Baker/Pisano Collection, Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY
2006   Measure of Time, Berkeley Art Museum and pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CA
2005   Macchine Naturali, Peter Freeman, Inc., Ner York City, NY
2005   Still Life - A Vital Theme, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
2005   Villa America - American Moderns - 1900-1950, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach
2005   Art In Bloom - Works from the Permanent Collection, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
2004   American Modernism, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York City, NY
2004   Everyday Mysteries: Modern and Contemporary Still Life, DC Moore Gallery, New York City, NY
2003   Debating American Modernism - Stieglitz, Duchamp, and the New York Avant-Garde
2002   Modern Metropolis, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
2001   Animating the Inanimate - The Life of Still LIfe, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
2001   Eye of Modernism, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM
2000   Modernism & Abstration - Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
1998   Joseph Stelle: Flora, Eaton Fine Art, West Palm Beach, FL