2015 49¢ Tunnel with Cars and Buses
This stamp is from an untitled piece identified as Tunnel with Cars and Buses. The artist Martín Ramírez was virtually unknown during his lifetime. Today, he is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
A critic for The New York Times once called Martín Ramírez “one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.” This title is especially surprising considering his lack of education or access to other contemporary art forms. His work is unique in style and materials.
Ramírez showed the skill of a draftsman with his parallel lines and curves. He repeated his patterns precisely on large-scale pieces. His subject matter was influenced by life experience, not current trends. Mexican heritage and fascination with modernization were repeated themes in his artwork.
The artist spent his adult life in the DeWitt State Hospital because of mental illness, and had to improvise for supplies. To make a surface large enough for his drawings, he glued scraps of discarded paper together using mashed potatoes and saliva. The collage of paper became not only the canvas for his work, but many times was incorporated into the design. Advertisements from car companies and pictures cut from magazines became part of his art.
The masterpieces of the man who had no formal training and lived in obscurity were not appreciated until many years after Ramírez’ death. He never knew the impact he had on those who experienced his art.
The stamp image is a detail from one of Ramírez’s more than 450 drawings and collages. The original work is owned by the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
49¢ Ramirez, issued to satisfy the 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