INDIANA — The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the art of Emilio Sanchez (1921-1999) on the centennial of his birth with four new stamps featuring his colorful architectural lithographs and paintings.
The pane of 20 stamps showcases Sanchez’s architectural works: “Los Toldos”(1973), “Ty’s Place”(1976), “En el Souk”(1972), and “Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta)”(1981). It may be purchased at usps.com/sanchezstamp.
The dedication ceremony was held at the LnS Gallery in Miami.
“The Postal Service is pleased to salute Emilio Sanchez, an artist best known for his brilliant collection of architectural paintings and lithographs,” said USPS Board of Governors Vice Chairman Roman Martinez IV, who noted Sanchez is the first Cuban American artist to have his work honored on a U.S. postage stamp.
“Today happens to be the centennial of his birth, a perfect occasion to honor the man whose masterful works can be found in the permanent collections of museums and universities around the world,” Martinez said.
Joining Martinez at the dedication ceremony were Erik Stapper, trustee, Emilio Sanchez Foundation; Elizabeth Goizueta, author and lecturer, Romance languages and literature, and adjunct curator, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Victor Deupi, senior lecturer, University of Miami School of Architecture; Jill Deupi, Beaux-Arts director and chief curator for the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami; and Richard Blanco, 2013 presidential inaugural poet for President Barack Obama, memoirist, and associate professor, Florida International University.
“We are celebrating the first day of issue of stamps that honor Emilio Sanchez, my client who about 25 years ago gave me a simple estate planning instruction: ‘Make me famous,’” said Erik Stapper, trustee, Emilio Sanchez Foundation. “Can there be a better birthday gift for our Cuban American immigrant friend than millions of new images by Emilio offered for sale at our local Post Offices? Each of those millions of images has a printed line that will serve as my words of welcome: Emilio Sanchez Forever USA.”
“This is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly given how long he had been largely overlooked by the art community,” said Victor Deupi, a Cuban American teacher of architectural history at the University of Miami. “It’s a wonderful honor on many fronts because it gives so many voices to people of different races and ethnic backgrounds.”
Sanchez explored the effects of light and shadow in his art to emphasize the abstract geometry of his subjects. His artwork encompasses his Cuban heritage as well as his long life in New York City.
Combining naturalism and abstraction, Sanchez’s architectural paintings and lithographs are not precise renderings but rather subjective interpretations of reality. Each work often depicts a single building. All extraneous details have been stripped away, although sometimes he highlights a specific feature, such as a balustrade, arched doorway or balcony. Strong light and deep shadows play across each building’s facade, delineating and emphasizing its abstract geometry without ever obscuring its true character.
His early subjects included houses and other buildings in Mexico, the Caribbean and the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1968. However, he remained especially drawn to Cuban architecture, which features a rich mix of Victorian, colonial and rustic rural styles.
By the 1970s, Sanchez had widened his focus to include buildings in Morocco and in other Mediterranean countries. He also found continued inspiration in the cityscape of New York, which became more prevalent in his works of the 1980s and 1990s.
Antonio Alcalá served as art director and designer for the Emilio Sanchez stamps, which are being issued as Forever stamps. These Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
The selvage features a photograph of Sanchez taken by Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in June 1993. In the photograph, Sanchez sketches at the drawing table in his New York City loft studio.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 844-737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.