The Dallas Museum of Art’s iconic 1924 Razor painting by Gerald Murphy is one of twelve works of art featured in a new “Modern Art in America” Forever® stamp collection produced by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The sheet of twelve adhesive stamps will be available through the USPS in early 2013.
The “Modern Art in America” stamp collection commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Armory Show in New York and features work produced between 1913 and 1931. The 1913 Armory Show International Exhibition of Modern Art introduced modern art to America on a large scale, influencing American artists. The twelve works include Stuart Davis’s House and Street, Charles Demuth’s I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, Aaron Douglas’s The Prodigal Son, Arthur Dove’s Fog Horns, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, Marsden Hartley’s Painting, Number 5, John Marin’s Sunset, Maine Coast, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie’s II, Man Ray’s Noire et Blanche, Charles Sheeler’s American Landscape, Joseph Stella’s Brooklyn Bridge, and Gerald Murphy’s Razor.
Razor entered the DMA’s collection in 1963 through the Foundation for the Arts Collection and was a gift of Gerald Murphy. The bold, simplified forms of the matchbox, safety razor, and fountain pen showcase Gerald Murphy’s training in mechanical drawing, as well as his interest in the flattened space of cubist painting. His depiction of consumer products—particularly the recently invented safety razor—precedes the later use of commercial imagery by pop artists of the 1960s. Murphy was a member of the Lost Generation, the group of artistically minded Americans who colonized Paris between the two world wars. His exposure to modern art at gallery exhibitions—and subsequent friendships with Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Igor Stravinsky—convinced him to become a painter himself. After studying with the Russian painter and designer Natalia Goncharova, Murphy embarked upon a short-lived career.
In 2008 the DMA presented the nationally acclaimed exhibition Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy. The exhibition featured keepsakes, letters, memorabilia, and the paintings of Gerald Murphy. The DMA’s Razor and Watch, two of the eight remaining paintings in Murphy’s oeuvre,were featured in the exhibition.