The Art of Emilio Sanchez

Release Date:  10 June 2021

Issue City: Miami, Florida 33152



Issue: Emilio Sanchez Stamps
Item Number: 480600
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail Forever
Format: Pane of 20 (4 designs)
Series: N/A
Issue Date & City: June 10, 2021, Miami, FL 33152
Art Director: Antonio Alcalá, Alexandria VA
Designer: Antonio Alcalá, Alexandria VA
Artist: Emilio Sanchez
Modeler: Joseph Sheeran
Manufacturing Process: Offset
Printer: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd (APU)
Press Type: Muller A76
Stamps per Pane: 20
Print Quantity: 18,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Nonphosphored Type III, Block Tag
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Colors: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, PMS Cool Grey 6C
Stamp Orientation: Horizontal
Image Area (w x h): 1.42 x 1.085 in. / 36.068 x 27.559 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 1.56 x 1.225 in. / 39.624 x 31.115 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h): 8.625 x 7.12 in. / 219.075 x 180.848 mm
Press Sheets Size (w x h): 26.125 x 21.610 in. / 663.575 x 548.894 mm
Plate Size: 180 stamps per revolution
Plate Number: “P” followed by five (5) single digits in two corners
Marginal Markings:
Front: Header: EMILIO SANCHEZ 1921-1999 • Plate number in bottom two corners
Back: ©2021 USPS • USPS logo • 2 barcodes (480600) • Plate position diagram (9) • Promotional text

Design #1: Los Toldos (1973)













Design #2: Ty‘s Place (1976)















Design #3: En el Souk (1972)

















Design #4: Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta) (1981)


















Sheet of 20 Stamps



















First Day Cover: Killer Bars Cancellation





















First Day Cover: Color Digital Cancellation























On June 10, 2021, in Miami, FL, the United States Postal Service® will issue the Emilio Sanchez stamps (Forever® priced at the First-Class Mail® rate) in four designs, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps (Item 480600). The stamps will go on sale nationwide June 10, 2021, and must not be sold or canceled before the first-day-of-issue. The Emilio Sanchez commemorative pane of 20 stamps may not be split and the stamps may not be sold individually.The Postal Service™ celebrates artist Emilio Sanchez (1921–1999) with four new stamps featuring four of his colorful architectural lithographs and paintings:

  • Los Toldos (1973),
  • Ty‘s Place (1976),
  • En el Souk (1972), and
  • Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta) (1981).

The selvage features a photograph of Sanchez taken by Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in June 1993. In the photograph, Sanchez sketches at the drawing table in his New York City loft studio. Sanchez explored the effects of light and shadow to emphasize the abstract geometry of his subjects. His artwork encompasses his Cuban heritage as well as his long life in New York City. Antonio Alcalá served as art director and designer for this pane of 20 stamps.

No automatic distribution.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark:
Customers have 120 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ or at The Postal Store® website at usps.com/shop. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Emilio Sanchez Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by October 10, 2021.

Emilio Sanchez: Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta) (1981)

May 18, 2021

Legacy of Acclaimed International Artist Emilio Sanchez Celebrated on U.S. Postal Service Commemorative Forever Stamps


The U.S. Postal Service will honor Emilio Sanchez on the anniversary of his 100th birthday with four commemorative Forever stamps featuring his colorful architectural lithographs and paintings.

News of the Emilio Sanchez Forever stamps is being shared with the hashtag #ArtistEmilioSanchezStamps.


The Honorable Roman Martinez IV, vice chairman, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors

Erik Stapper, trustee, Emilio Sanchez Foundation

Elizabeth Goizueta, author and lecturer, Romance languages and literature, adjunct curator, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College

Victor Deupi, senior lecturer, University of Miami, School of Architecture

Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, University of Miami

Richard Blanco, 2013 presidential inaugural poet for President Barack Obama, memoirist and associate professor, Florida International University

Thursday, June 10, 2021, at 11 a.m. EDT
LnS Gallery
2610 SW 28th Lane
Miami, FL 33133

With these stamps, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the art of Emilio Sanchez (1921-1999). Best known for his architectural paintings and lithographs, Sanchez explored the effects of light and shadow to emphasize the abstract geometry of his subjects. His artwork encompasses his Cuban heritage as well as his long life in New York City.

Combining naturalism and abstraction, Sanchez’s architectural paintings and lithographs are not precise renderings but rather subjective interpretations of reality. Each work often depicts a single building. All extraneous details have been stripped away, although sometimes he highlights a specific feature, such as a balustrade, arched doorway or balcony. Strong light and deep shadows play across each building’s facade, delineating and emphasizing its abstract geometry without ever obscuring its true character.

Today, Sanchez’s work can be found in permanent collections around the world, where it inspires new generations of artists to look anew at the endless variation of shapes and shadows created by architectural forms.

Antonio Alcalá served as art director and designer for the Emilio Sanchez Forever stamps, which are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Postal Products

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling (844) 737-7826, by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide.

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Emilio Sanchez

New USPS Stamps Feature Work by Emilio Sánchez, Under-Known Painter of Expressive Cityscapes


January 28, 2021 12:27pm

Painter Emilio Sánchez has made history as the first Cuban American visual artist to be featured in a new series of Forever stamps released by the United States Postal Service. Released this year in honor of the centennial anniversary of his birth, the stamps will feature four of his colorful paintings and lithographs: Los Toldos (1973), Ty’s Place (1976), En el Souk (1972) and Untitled (Ventanita entreabierta) (1981).

Sánchez, who died in 1999, is acclaimed for his “architectural paintings”—naturalist depictions of store facades and cityscapes that appear static. Dramatically colored and expressively lit, the works have drawn comparisons to Edward Hopper and Charles Sheeler, though Sánchez’s practice was rooted not in American urbanity but his native country of Cuba.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly given how long he had been unrecognized by the art community,” said Victor Deupi, a Cuban American teacher of architectural history at the University of Miami. “It’s a wonderful honor on many fronts because it gives so many voices to people of different races and ethnic backgrounds.”

Emilio Sanchez
Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” Casa de esquina, corner house, 1990 oil on canvas 58″ X 48″

Sánchez was born in Camagüey, Cuba, in 1921, and was raised by one of the island’s most prominent families, whose wealth allowed him to travel often. As a young man, he moved to New York City to begin his arts education at the Art Students League. He would spend the rest of his life in the city, whose built environment became an enduring fascination. By the 1960s, early portrayals of friends and models had given way to studies of the crisp horizontal and vertical lines that comprised the city’s geometry, marking a break with the kind of abstraction that was preferred by many at the time.

Sánchez was foremost interested in the effect of light on color, and that fascination stemmed from sights seen in Cuba. He tried to distill structures to their essence—Carol Damian, director of Miami’s Frost Art Museum, once described his subjects as symbols of buildings, not earnest copies.

The artist traveled widely throughout the 1970s and 1980s, studying the architecture of the Mediterranean and Latin America. The high white homes that line the broad boulevards of Casablanca made a particular impression. Using his travels as inspiration, he further explored color through depictions of sunsets, clotheslines, and still lifes of tropical fruits and flowers, though Sánchez gravitated most often towards awnings and open windows or doorways.

Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” House with yellow fence, n.d. oil on canvas 48″ X 48″

In Untitled (Medio Punto, San Juan, Puerto Rico), 1971, the stained glass of an arched doorframe is brilliantly lit from behind, light spilling forward through the open door. During this time Sánchez was featured often in biennials across South America and the Caribbean, and he was awarded first prize at the 1974 San Juan Biennial in Puerto Rico.

Today his work has been featured in over 60 solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, and his art is held cultural institutions in including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Emilio Sanchez
Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” Pink and orange house, n.d. oil on canvas 41 ” X 51″

Emilio Sanchez (Artist)

Emilio Sanchez (1921–1999) was a Cuban-American artist known for his architectural paintings and graphic lithographs. His work is found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York NY), Museum of Modern Art (New York NY), National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington DC), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana (Havana, Cuba), Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (Bogotá, Colombia), La Tertulia Museum (Cali, Colombia), and the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra, Australia).

A representational artist with a modernist and at times abstract approach, Sanchez emphasized “pattern, color and strong lighting contrasts”. By 1970 architectural themes, from detailed stained glass windows to abstracted storefronts or city skylines, dominated his oeuvre. Carol Damian of the Frost Art Museum (Miami, FL) described his work as studies in “horizontals and verticals, bold stripes of color, and the ever-present shadows, especially diagonal shadows that he so favored, with darks and lights in repetition.” For her, Sanchez’s work was “not a picture of something, but the application of pigment onto a flat surface to become a singular object to its own definition.”

Emilio Sanchez
Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” Awnings, n.d. oil on canvas 72″ X 72″

Early Life

Emilio Sánchez Fonts was born in Camagüey, Cuba, in 1921 to Estrella Fonts and Emilio Sánchez. The grandson of sugar entrepreneur Bernabé Sánchez Adan and a member of one of Cuba’s oldest and wealthiest families, Sanchez’s early life was one of privilege. As a child he was tutored at home on his father’s sugar plantation in central Cuba where he was encouraged to draw by his grandmother. He traveled extensively throughout Europe and North and South America and as a youth attended the American boarding schools Ransom Everglades School, Fessenden School and, from 1935–39, Choate Rosemary Hall. After his parents divorced, his mother married Peruvian artist Felipe Cossío del Pomar in 1938 and moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Sanchez then divided his time between Mexico, his father’s Cuban estate, and American schools. He attended Yale University and, from 1941–1943, the University of Virginia.

Encouraged to pursue art by Cossío del Pomar, in 1944 Sanchez moved to New York City to attend the Art Students League. Later, he attended Columbia University School of the Arts where he studied watercolor painting under Dong Kingman. During the late 1940s, he developed an interest in Mexican colonial architecture as well as Pre-Columbian Art and illustrated two books on Peruvian Art written by Cossío del Pomar. In 1949, his first solo exhibition, held at Joseph Luyber Gallery (New York NY), was followed by solo exhibitions in 1951 at Ferargil Gallery in New York and Ateneo Español in Mexico City. Although he moved permanently to New York City in 1952, Sanchez continued to visit the Caribbean, where he often photographed scenes as references for his art. In the mid-1950s, he experimented with printmaking techniques such as lithography, woodcut, and aquatint.

Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” White corner house, n.d. oil on canvas 36 ” X 60″
Emilio Sanchez


In 1956, Sanchez’s solo watercolor exhibition at Peridot Gallery (New York NY) of figurative New York or Caribbean street scenes was reviewed favorably by Stuart Preston of The New York Times. His 1956 solo show at El Lyceum (Havana, Cuba) led to his association with Galeria Cubana de Pintura y Escultura and group exhibitions in Venezuela and Columbia. In 1958, his solo show at Galerie Sudamerica (New York NY) was noted by Cuban critics. In 1959, he exhibited lithographs at the Havana Salón anual: Pintura, Escultura y Grabado and his first print solo exhibition Obras Gráficas, held at El Lyceum, was well received by the public and press. Although Sanchez did not return to Cuba after 1960, he continued to exhibit in biennials throughout Central and South America. At this time solo exhibitions of his work were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Madrid, Spain, as well as in Houston, New Orleans, and New York. In 1968, Sanchez became an American citizen. He also signed with the renown Associated American Artists (New York NY) which held solo exhibitions of his work in 1968, in 1971 and 1981.

Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” Green house with white shutters, n.d. oil on canvas 36 ” X 72″
Emilio Sanchez: “Puerta Naranja” Orange door, c. 1968 lithograph 27 3/8″ X 21 1/2″

Although Sanchez continually explored a variety of subjects including fruit, flowers, clotheslines, sailboats, and sunsets. By 1971, architectural themes, such as the arched doorways of the Medio Punto oil paintings, emerged as his signature subject. At this time solo exhibitions of his work were held throughout Latin America at the Museo Bellas Artes (Caracas, Venezuela), La Tertulia Museum (Cali, Colombia), Museo Ponce (Ponce PR) as well as the Center for Inter-American Relations (New York NY). During the 1970s, frequent trips to the Mediterranean inspired Sanchez to adopt a more geometric and minimalist approach in his Moroccan paintings or Boston City Hall drawings. By the late 1980s, however, he turned his attention to New York scenes and depicted Bronx bodegas, storefronts, and garages as solid blocks of color. During this time he exhibited at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and the Miami-Dade Public Library in Florida as well as at galleries in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Coral Gables, and in Miami, home to many exiled Cubans. Although Sanchez increasingly experienced vision problems, he continued to paint until his death in Warwick, New York, in 1999.

Emilio Sanchez
Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” Stained glass doorway, n.d. oil on canvas 60 ” X 36″

Since his death, solo exhibitions of Sanchez’s work were noted at the Bronx Museum in 2001; at Boston City Hall in 2009; and at Syracuse University Art Galleries in 2011. Exhibitions of his work were held in 2012 at Saint Joseph College (Hartford CA), and the University of Virginia’s Fralin Museum of Art, as well as in 2013 at the University of Oregon’s Museum of Art, the University of Michigan, Indiana University, and the Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico.

Recognition and Contribution

Sanchez’s paintings and prints drew the attention of both the public and critics as early as 1958. In 1967, he was interviewed for the series Listening with Pictures by Arlene Jacobowitz, Assistant Curator of Paintings and Sculpture of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He was also recognized internationally and was awarded first prize at the 1974 Biennial in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During his career, his critical supporters included American art collector Barbara Duncan and A Hyatt Mayor, print curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Emilio Sanchez: “Casita de Madera” Little wooden house, 1998 lithograph 18″ X 23 1/2″
“Casita Tropical” 1978 watercolor 22″ X 30″

In style and subject matter Sanchez’s work reflected both Latin-American and American culture. His colorful Caribbean palette and interest in light and shadow on vernacular architecture is attributed to his formative years in Cuba. Although his flat, sometimes abstract, geometric style was not unlike his Brazilian contemporaries Alfredo Volpi and Livio Abramo, his paintings evoked a sense of place that, for art historian Rafael DíazCasas, reflected a “feeling of displacement” and “idea of an absent household”. Although Sanchez’s work is important within American Hispanic art, his work is also in the tradition of American painters Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe. For art historian John Angeline, his work also evoked the paintings of Charles Sheeler and extended “Precisionism a step further.” Composed with “a photographer’s eye”, Sanchez’s New York scenes recalled Berenice Abbott’s urban photographs or Judith Turner’s architectural abstractions. Aesthetically versatile, Sanchez’s “modernist investigations” are also linked to the Pop art imagery of Andy Warhol or Jasper Johns, or can be categorized as Camp (style). For Angeline, Sanchez assimilated and appreciated “the different styles and artistic choices surrounding him while maintaining his own voice.”

Emilio Sanchez: “Untitled” Yellow and blue porch, n.d. oil on canvas 48″ X 96″
Emilio Sanchez

Public Collections

Sanchez’s work is found in many museum collections, most notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York NY) which has 200 drawings or prints. His work is also found in the collections of the Perez Art Museum Miami (Miami FL), Museum of Modern Art (New York NY), the New York Public Library (New York NY), Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn NY), El Museo del Barrio, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington DC), Art Museum of the Americas (Washington, DC), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston MA), Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (Utica NY), Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (San Francisco CA), Museum of Fine Arts Houston (Houston TX), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Havana, Cuba), Museo de Arte de Ponce (Ponce PR), Museo de Bellas Artes (Caracas, Venezuela), Museo de Arte Moderno Bogotá (Bogotá, Colombia), Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena (Cartagena Colombia), La Tertulia Museum (Cali, Colombia), and at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra, Australia). His work is also found in the university collections of the New York Law School, Ursinus College, University of Michigan, Indiana University and Kinsey Institute, University of Wyoming, University of Notre Dame, Southern Illinois University, University of Virginia, Syracuse University, Caribbean University (Bayamón, PR), and at the Universidad del Turabo.

Sanchez’s original papers as well as a digital database of his work (5486 images and 614 text documents such as letters, press releases or reviews), compiled by the Emilio Sanchez Foundation, are located at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (Washington DC). A small archive of Sanchez’s documents or source materials including photographs are archived at the Miami-Dade Public Library.

Emilio Sanchez
Emilio Sanchez

Emilio Sanchez Foundation

In his will Sanchez stipulated that a foundation be established to support contemporary artists or ophthalmic research as well as promote and distribute his remaining work.[36] Officially established in 2005, the Foundation funded the Emilio Sanchez Award in the Visual Arts, awarded in association with the Cintas Foundation annually from 2005 to 2009. The Foundation also contributed to the Cuban Artist Fund, El Museo del Barrio, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach CA).

From 2005 to 2012, the Foundation distributed over 4,000 of the artist’s 7,000 prints or paintings to 72 institutions in the United States, Cuba and Puerto Rico, while the remainder were sold or are currently on sale. In 2011, the Foundation published Hard Light: The Work of Emilio Sanchez, edited by Curator Ann Koll, which included essays by John Angeline, Rudi C. Bleys, and Rafael DiazCasas. Although the Foundation closed its studio space on 19 West 21st Street In February 2012, it continues to maintain an online presence.




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