Joseph Stella (June 13, 1877 - November 5, 1946) was an Italian-born American Futurist painter best-known for his depictions of industrial America.
He was born in Muro Lucano,Italy but came to New York City in 1896. He studied at the Art Students League of New York under William Merritt Chase. His first paintings are Rembrandtesque depictions of city slum life. In 1908 he was commissioned for a series on industrial Pittsburgh, later published in The Pittsburgh Survey.
It was his return to Europe in 1909, and his first contact with modernism, that would truly mold his distinctive personal style.
Returning to New York in 1913, he painted Battle of Lights, Mardi Gras, Coney Island, which is one of the earliest American Futurist works. He is most famous for New York Interpreted, a five-paneled work patterned after a religious altarpiece, but depicting bridges and skyscrapers instead of saints. This piece reflects the belief, common at the time, that industry was displacing religion as the center of modern life. It is currently owned by the Newark Museum.
His most famous quote is: "I have seen the future and it is good. We will wipe away the religions of old and start anew."