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In this age of texts and e-mails, why not depart from the norm and send a handwritten missive franked with a fantastic work of art?

On March 26, the U.S. Postal Service releases five stamps celebrating the acclaimed Mexican-American outsider artist Martín Ramírez (1895–1963).

Confined to mental institutions for decades, Ramírez, a former railroad worker diagnosed with schizophrenia, created finely crafted drawings, collages, and multimedia paintings distinguished by biographical symbols—train tracks and the like—as well as religious iconography, architectural structures, and a delicate sense of color.

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One of the late sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani's final purchases is catching up with him, as members of Qatar's ruling family are now being sued for some $7.5 million that the collector's estate still owes for a set of rare stamps he won at auction before his death.

Known as the “British Guiana collection," the stamps, from the estate of John E. du Pont, were offered by David Feldman Stamp Auctions in June. Though the price may seem extravagant, it was not even the most expensive stamp auction of that month: a 19th-century one-cent magenta, also from the du Pont estate by way of British colonial Guiana, fetched an astronomical $9.5 from an anonymous buyer at Sotheby's New York, smashing the record for a single stamp.

Published in News
Saturday, 20 July 2013 04:19

Stamps or Stencils?

Printed textiles can be characterized by the technology used to print them (block, copperplate, or roller) or by the “style,” which in this case does not mean the characteristics of the design but rather the chemistry that is needed to print the colors. One style of textile printing that is not very well known is the “pigment style.” Traditionally taken to mean the later nineteenth-century practice of printing pigments with an albumen binder, an earlier method of printing pigments with an oil binder (oil paint) has recently been identified on textiles printed in America (Figs. 1, 4).1 This earlier method of printing [or “stamping”] patterns on textiles with wooden blocks coated with oil paint is easily confused with the technique of stenciling, that is, the application of paint (more often tempera than oil) through a stencil (Figs. 2, 3).

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