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Neapolitan Song

1929 Joseph Stella Born: Muro Lucano, Italy 1877 Died: New York, New York 1946 oil on canvas 38 3/8 x 28 1/4 in. (97.5 x 71.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Fran├žoise and Harvey Rambach 2000.11 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, North Wing

Gallery Label

Stella believed that every day should "begin and end [with] the painting of a flower." The exotic plants he sketched in the Bronx Botanical Garden resurface in this imaginary scene of the Bay of Naples, drawn with the precision and love of nature that Stella absorbed from Italy's Renaissance painters. The tips of the palmetto leaf radiate across the picture plane like a visible, unfolding wave of sound. Stella had moments of homesickness, when images of his homeland came to him as clearly as when he first arrived in America in 1896. Here, it is as if the Neapolitan song is reaching across the sea, bridging the distance between Stella's old home and his adopted country.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006


Animal - bird

Landscape - mountain

Landscape - plant


paint - oil

fabric - canvas