|Date of Issue
|March 26, 2015
First-Class Mail Forever
|Perforation or Dimension
|1.23 x 1.23 in./31.11 x 31.11 mm
|Series Time Span
|New York, NY 10199
On March 26, 2015, in New York, NY, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Martin Ramirez First-Class Mail® stamps (Forever® priced at 49 cents), in five designs, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps. The stamps will go on sale nationwide March 26, 2015.
Although confined to psychiatric hospitals for more than 30 years, artist Martin Ramirez (1895-1963) produced more than 450 dynamic drawings and collages imbued with hypnotic power. Through the use of repeating lines and idiosyncratic motifs, Ramirez transcended his own situation to create a remarkably visualized world free from the constraints of borders and, even, of time itself.
The sheet of 20 self-adhesive stamps features details from five of Ramirez’s drawings. The first row of stamps highlights a floral detail from “Untitled (Horse and Rider with Trees)” from 1954. The second row of stamps showcases the central image of “Untitled (Man Riding Donkey)” from circa 1960-1963. The third row of stamps shows a detail from “Untitled (Trains on Inclined Tracks)” from circa 1960-1963. The fourth row of stamps showcases the central image of “Untitled (Deer),” which dates from circa 1960-1963. And the fifth row of stamps features a detail from “Untitled (Tunnel with Cars and Buses)” from 1954. The sheet’s verso includes brief text about Ramirez and his importance to 20th-century American art.
Born near Guadalajara, Ramirez left Mexico for the U.S. in 1925. Like other migrant workers during this period, he worked in mines and on the railroad but was hit hard by the Great Depression. Emotionally upset and in poor physical condition, he was detained by police in 1931 and, unable or unwilling to communicate, was soon committed to a psychiatric hospital. He remained institutionalized for the rest of his life.
After several attempts to escape from the psychiatric hospital, Ramirez began to draw obsessively. Over the next 32 years, he created a series of large-scale drawings-from two feet to more than 20 feet long-that blend the emotional and physical landscapes of his life in Mexico with the modern popular culture of the U.S. He worked primarily with found materials, like discarded paper, matchsticks, and tongue depressors, as well as homemade glue and paint. Some of his drawings were exhibited anonymously during his lifetime, but it wasn’t until a decade after his death that his work began to receive widespread attention. An acclaimed retrospective held at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City in 2007 established Ramirez as one of the great artists of the 20th century.
Antonio Alcalá served as art director and designer for the stamp sheet.
The Martin Ramirez stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.