Joseph Stella, the efforts of the individuals and the stability of the whole collective. Lines and structure of both society and materials

Joseph Stella, the efforts of the individuals and the stability of the whole collective. Lines and structure of both society and materials

Finding a true identity and meaning of life, a quest each of us is experiencing

Joseph Stella felt like an outsider, living in America as an immigrant, certainly brought forward some of the most important questions of his life, and it certainly translated into his art. Brooklyn Bridge, for instance is in my opinion one of the most powerful expression of his observations. Identity of an individual as a line and a society as a sum of those interconnected lines, at the same time the whole structure seems autonomous and ready to live the life of it’s own, which is often the case with most art.

Experiencing a life as an immigrant certainly while some may say disadvantageous, in Stella’s case seem to have promoted extreme focus towards the words of steel (technology at the time) and society.


Making of the center of the world

“During the last years of the war I went to live in Brooklyn in the most forlorn region of the oceanic tragic city, in Williamsburg, near the bridge. Brooklyn gave me a sense of liberation. The vast view of her sky, in opposition to the narrow one of New York, was a relief – and at night, in her solitude, I used to find, intact, the green freedom of my own self.”
Joseph Stella

There was such a polyphony of opposing forces, at one hand Stella was deeply connected to his Italian heritage and longing towards Italy, while on the other hand, this longing maybe inspired him to look and observe the transformation of American city with fresh eyes and owe toward the future.

“I had witnessed the growth and expansion of New York proceeding parallel to the development of my own life… and therefore I was feeling entitled to interpret the titanic efforts, the conquests already obtained by the imperial city in order to become what now She is, the center of the world.”
Joseph Stella
“At my arrival [in Paris], Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism were in full swing. There was in the air the glamour of a battle, the holy battle raging for the assertion of a new truth. My youth plunged full in it.”
Joseph Stella

While his influence especially on American art was within futurism, he never really detached from Precisionist movement and European art, especially Italian Baroque and Gothic architecture remained one of the strongest forces in his work. This leads me to think about the individual rise, he must have felt as a symbolical movement.

There was a criticism and at the same time fascination with the fumes coming out of the factories that were springing forth at the time of his life. Isn’t it interesting and visionary that he was able to both criticize and admire those aspects of transforming civilization.

Shouldn’t we do the same with our accelerating machines that learn about themselves and the world around them as well as us as creators that created them according to our image.

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