Lilies and Sparrow

Lilies and Sparrow

c. 1920

Joseph Stella

(American, 1877-1946)

Colored pencil, silverpoint, and white gouache

Support: Beige(1) wove paper

Sheet: 72.4 x 57.1 cm (28 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 1983.81

Fun Fact

Joseph Stella loved drawing flowers and described his wish that "my every working day...might begin and end...with the light, gay painting of a flower."

Description

Joseph Stella made nature studies throughout his career. For this simple, spare composition he used metalpoint, a medium associated with the Italian Renaissance and rarely seen in the 20th century. Although metalpoint cannot be erased, its unique qualities -- precision, delicacy, and sharpness -- appealed to Stella and he often combined it with colored pencils to achieve a brightness that resembled oil painting. The careful execution and large size of this sheet suggest that Stella considered it a finished work of art.

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