Monday, 22 June 2015

Dean Acheson

Czeslaw Slania worked with the postage service of the United States just a small number of times, but the limited collaboration produced some truly wonderful stamps. In this blog I'll be taking a good look at the 1993 US stamp depicting Dean Acheson.

Dean Acheson (1893-1971) was the Secretary of State for the United States of America bewteen 1949 and 1953 during the administration of Harry S. Truman. Now before you get too concerned,  I'm not going to sit here and prattle on about politics - a field I'll freely admit to having very little interest in. But it would be remiss of me not to mention a few things about the man. From a little research it appears that Acheson played a key role in helping President Truman navigate through the early days of the Cold War. He helped to design the Marshall Plan, which was an intiative to provide aid to Europe after WWII. The US gave some $13 billion to assist in the reconstruction of European economies. Acheson was also a central figure in the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - otherwise known as NATO.

One of the terrible results of global tensions from the Cold War was the eruption of the Korean War, often referred to as 'the forgotten war', which raged from 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953. The horrible nature of this war was well captured in the TV series MASH. MASH transformed this war from the 'forgotten war' to one that is now remebered. I mention the Korean War because Dean Acheson famously ( or infamously, whichever you prefer) convinced President Truman to intervene in the war in June 1950.

Now enough with the politics. Let us take a look at the stamp depicting Dean Acheson, engraved by Slania. I have always thought that portraits- and the details within - can be a great way to judge the skill of an engraver. There are many stamp engravers out there who have etched many fine portraits,  but to me none compare to Slania's incredible ability to etch such exquisite details in his portraits.

First, let's look at the full stamp, and then I'll look a bit closer at some of the details that I find captivating.

When I look at this stamp my eye seems to be drawn to the steepled fingers. A zoomed in shot reveals just how detailed the skin is. The creases and the wrinkles have been rendered so efficiently as to be almost three dimensional.

My eye is then drawn to the moustache. The lines are so crisp and life like that I fully expect his mouth to move and that moustache to bristle!

What areas of this stamp draw your eye?

Until next time...
Stay Stamp Crazy!

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