American Artist Romare Bearden’s Work Honored on Forever Stamp

Renaissance Man Transcended Beyond “The Block”

September 28, 2011 

Release No. 11-110  



Romare Bearden stamps
To request a high-resolution image of the stamp for news media use only, email


Harlem, NY — The artwork of Romare Bearden, one of America’s most prolific artists, is featured on a set of four Forever stamps dedicated today by the U.S. Postal Service during a first-day-of-issuance ceremony at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

“Today, we are proud to dedicate a sheet of stamps that honor a man who became one of the 20th Century’s most distinguished, important and inventive American artists,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman. “Using various materials, such as foil, cut paper, and fabric, Romare Bearden transformed collage into a forceful means of expression with mainstream appeal — and in doing so, he framed the complexities of the African-American experience in a broad historical and cultural context.”

Joining Stroman to dedicate the stamp were E.T. Williams, chairman of the Board of Directors, Romare Bearden Foundation; Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Raschelle Parker, manager, Marketing, New York District, U.S. Postal Service.

Bearden is celebrated for his groundbreaking approach to collage along with his work in watercolors, oils, and other media. The four collages by Bearden, depicted above, and as they appear on the stamp sheet from left to right are: Conjunction (1971), Odysseus: Poseidon, The Sea God—Enemy of Odysseus (1977), Prevalence of Ritual: Conjur Woman (1964) and Falling Star (1979). Art director Derry Noyes chose a different work by Bearden for each of the four stamp designs.

Among Bearden’s early paintings were figural works recalling his childhood roots in the South, done in gouache on brown paper. His paintings of the 1940s also were inspired by literary sources such as the Bible, Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetry, and Homer’s Iliad. Bearden turned to writing lyrics for songs, including the hit “Seabreeze.” Music, in particular jazz and the blues, was a strong influence on Bearden’s art.

Bearden’s monumental cityscape, The Block, was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. His art has also been praised for depicting African-American experience in its full dimensions and is in the permanent collections of major museums across the nation. Considered one of America’s greatest collagists, Bearden was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1987 by then President Reagan.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office™ facility, at The Postal Store® website at, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Romare Bearden Stamp
421 Eighth Ave., Room 2029B
New York, NY 10199-9998

After applying the first day of issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 28, 2011.

Ordering First-Day Covers
Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment
Dept. 6270
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products
There are five philatelic products available for this stamp issue:

  • 467763, First-Day Cover Set of 4, $3.52
  • 467768, Digital Color Postmark Set of 4, $6.40
  • 467776, Diary Page and Pane, $12.95
  • 467791, Ceremony Program, $6.95
  • 467799, Cancellation Keepsake (4 Digital Color Postmarks w/Pane), $13.95

To learn more about the Postal Service’s Stamp Program and upcoming stamp dedication ceremonies, visit

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