In 1896, Joseph (born Giuseppe) Stella emigrated to the U.S. to pursue a medical career. He soon changed course, however, and began illustrating immigrant life in New York's slums. These works were essentially of the nineteenth century in both style and social outlook.
Between 1909 and 1912, Stella traveled in Italy and France and discovered the formal and thematic innovations of the European avant-garde. His new work glorified the industrial prowess of the U.S. Foremost among his subjects was the Brooklyn Bridge, rendered as a constellation of lines dramatically receding in space. Many of his pictures derive their compositions from Renaissance altarpieces, but substitute modern architecture for sacred figures. This choice reflects Stella's typically modernist belief that in the future technology would replace the old religions.
Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at email@example.com to confirm it will be on view.
Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at email@example.com.