Betty and Ralph Sheffer Gallery: U.S. Postage Stamps by Westport Artists
Mollie Donovan Gallery: The Road to 06880: Colonial Era to Present
This fall, The Westport Historical Society celebrates Westport’s surprisingly visible and influential place in U.S. Postal History through two companion exhibits: The main exhibit, curated by Leonard Everett Fisher, and mounted in the Betty & Ralph Sheffer Gallery, showcases 164 stamps and the 17 prominent Westport artists… who designed them, on commission by the U.S. Postal Service’s Citizen Advisory Council between 1959 and 1998, for national circulation in the billions. Featured artists include: Ward Brackett, Miggs Burroughs, Stevan Dohanos, Naiad Einsel, Walter Einsel, Leonard Everett Fisher, Bernie Fuchs, Robert Lambdin, Howard Munce, Paul Rabut, Walt Reed, Charles Reid, Cal Sacks, Jim Sharpe, Dolli Tingle, Ed Vebell and Harold Von Schmidt.
Drawing from the private collection of Westport’s own Leo Cirino, a friend to many of the artists, this exhibit presents enlarged color images of all 166 stamps. Photos and biographical profiles of the artists, along with correspondence, artifacts and examples of the work for which they are better known, provide an intriguing context for the stamp designs. A focal point of the exhibit will be the influence of Stevan Dohanos, member of the Citizen’s Advisory Council and himself a designer of 33 stamps, in matching artists to stamp commissions. A companion book, documenting the Cirino collection and the artists, will be published by the WHS.
The second exhibit, The Road to 06880: Colonial Era to Present, in the Mollie Donovan Gallery, traces the evolution of mail delivery in coastal New England, from the days of hand-to-hand forwarding and reliance on the kindness of strangers, through development of the King’s Highway Post Road, to promote timely delivery and commerce between Philadelphia, New York and Boston, and later innovations, such as named streets, numbered houses and zip codes.