Thursday, April 26, 2012

Whistler's Mother

Whistler's Mother

I have taken up a new hobby, Stamp collecting.   I like the older commemorative stamps of the United States.   Since these stamps commemorate some event in history I figured that it must have been something of historical significance.   I got some of these commemorative stamps which were very inexpensive and started looking up the history of each stamp on-line.   My first stamp was Whistler's Mother.   We all remember the famous painting.   But there is a story behind the painting which I was not aware of until I started to research it.   I got the description below from the internet but I don't remember the site so regrettably I am not able to give credit.

The Mothers in America stamp was issued on Mother’s day (May 2) 1934 after a campaign by the American War Mother’s group. The design is James McNeil Whistler’s famous 1871 painting, “Portrait of my Mother” or “An Arrangement in Grey and Black”, which is more commonly known as “Whistler’s Mother”. The story behind the painting is that the original model for the painting became ill and Whistler’s mother volunteered to replace here. His mother’s health was not the best, and it was necessary for her to sit for the painting instead of standing as originally planned.

Over the decades, the painting became very well known and by the time the postage stamp was issued, it was considered one of America’s most famous paintings. The artwork was cropped to fit the standard stamp design and some of the elements of the original paint were modified to balance the new dimensions; flowers were added and a picture was removed from the wall. A number of artists were unhappy about the changes, but the stamp itself proved to be popular with the public.

Can you spot the differences mentioned above between the stamp and the original painting?   The picture on the wall that is obscured somewhat and the flowers that were added?

Original painting.


I thought that the story was interesting and I learned a lot of new facts that I hadn't known before.   I am enjoying this inexpensive hobby.   Is the stamp above mine?   No, that is an unused new stamp.   My stamp below is a used stamp with the unsightly cancellation marks on it.   Used stamps are a lot cheaper than the unused stamps.

Have a great day and live your life to the fullest.        Lew

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