2015 49¢ Horse and Rider
The artist Martín Ramírez was virtually unknown during his lifetime. Today, he is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
Though Martín Ramírez spent more than half his life in the United States, much of his art reflects earlier years he spent in Mexico.
The state of Jalisco, where Ramírez lived, was the birthplace of many traditions connected with Mexico. The home of mariachi music, tequila, and sombreros was also a center of Catholic worship. The land includes coasts, forests, and deserts. All these elements are present in Ramírez’ drawings and paintings.
The artist owned a horse when he lived in Mexico and was reported to be a skilled rider. His paintings with horses often show them rearing up with a rider on their back. In many cases, the rider is pointing a pistol behind him.
Other works display a more tranquil scene of a man in a sombrero riding a burro. Ramírez’ roots are evident in the brightly colored garments the rider wears. It is an image many Americans identify with Mexico.
Ramírez spent his adult life at a state hospital. The memories of his past may have been influenced by the Westerns he saw in the movie theater there.
Perhaps artwork showing his old life brought comfort to Ramírez as he struggled in his adopted country. Although he was never able to explain why he chose these subjects, he portrayed them with tenderness and skill.
49¢ Ramirez: First-Class Mail Rate
Issue Date: March 26, 2015, opening of the Martín Ramírez Forever art exhibit
City: New York, NY, Ricco/Maresca Gallery
Quantity: 4,000,000 stamps
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Product
Printing Method: Lithographed in sheets of 240, with twelve panes of 20 per sheet
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ¾
The stamp image is a detail from one of Ramírez’s more than 450 drawings and collages.