Let’s cruise.

I don’t know where this ship’s bound, but if I could I’d jump on board. With those colors, rhythmic lines, and roundish ‘whatevers’ in the sky, I foresee an amazing trip. Want to come along? If not, I’ll post a card to you while on board.
This stamp reproduces a painting by Friedrich Hundertwasser (1928-2000), a multi-facited Austrian artist who spent much of his life in Venice and Paris and traveling the world. Hundertwasser’s artistic output, be it painting, illustration, murals or architecture can be an acquired taste, though I jumped on board immediately. His style is organic and dreamlike, described as “…an almost isolated human and artistic sensibility floating in the intangible and mysterious world of sense impressions…” with a “…tendency to perceive ideas and events within a private constellation of meaning, without reference to the supposedly rational structure of organized knowledge…”1
Though Hundertwasser’s artwork has been the basis for stamps from a number of countries, this stamp has an unusual back-story. The painting “Vapor” was created at the invitation of UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to be auctioned to benefit the impoverished nation of Cape Verde. Its use on a postage stamp was meant to draw worldwide attention to the nation. The stamp’s original 10-Escudo value was not issued, but was overprinted in 1985 and sold to enhance development aid.2
About stamps, Hundertwasser had this to say, “I loved postage stamps long before I became a painter. It was a great joy to collect these little coloured pictures, to separate them from the letters which came from far away…They are like venerable objects, like icons.” (Hundertwasser in “Drei Briefmarken für Senegal,” printed in Schöne Wege, Munich 1983.)
1 Chipp, Herschel B., Richardson, Brenda, Hundertwasser ©1968 The Regents of the University of California. (LOC 68-65709, exhibition catalog)
2 http://hundertwasser.com/oeuvre/73-applied-art/3071-cabo-verde-steamer-1500298258

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