Joseph Stella

1877 - 1946

Gratz Gallery Outside

Joseph Stella


(1877 - 1946)

Born in Muro Lucano, near Naples, Italy, Joseph Stella is best known for his painting Brooklyn Bridge, 1919 a futurist work that is an icon of the Industrial Age.

He arrived in the United States in 1896 and studied medicine and pharmacology and then attended the Art Students League under William Merritt Chase. From 1900 -1909, he was an illustrator, especially interested in immigrant life in New York. One of his assignments was in Pittsburgh to do a series of industrial drawings, and this experience seems to have begun his interest in the subject of cities and the way industry affected people's lives.

From 1909 to 1912, he was in Europe, particularly France and Italy, and associated with modernists including Matisse and Modigliani. He exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show and from then on was associated with the avant-garde including Duchamp, Man Ray, etc. He lived primarily in New York City and did a series of Futurist paintings of the city including Coney Island Battle of Lights that he exhibited at the Armory Show.

From 1927 to 1934, he was in Rome and Paris, and in 1940 traveled to the West Indies. Although most of his Futurist paintings were done between 1912 and 1923, he continued to reinterpret those subjects until his death in 1946.