Left to right, Romare Bearden’s “Conjunction” (1971), “Odysseus: Poseidon, The Sea God — Enemy of Odysseus” (1977), “Prevalence of Ritual: Conjur Woman” (1964) and “Falling Star” (1979) on a US Postal Service stamp. (via USPS.com)

Today, in a ceremony at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, American artist Romare Bearden was honored with set of four “Forever” stamps issued by the US Postal Service.

Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman spoke at the dedication ceremony in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood and touched upon one aspect of the Bearden’s unique artistic gift. “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,” he said.

Romare Bearden, in his army uniform, a photograph taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1944 (via Wikipedia)

The four collages by Bearden chosen for the honor are “Conjunction” (1971), “Odysseus: Poseidon, The Sea God — Enemy of Odysseus” (1977), “Prevalence of Ritual: Conjur Woman” (1964) and “Falling Star” (1979).

We just hope we get to use these before the US Postal Service goes belly up. I mean, what do you do with a Forever stamp if that happens?

You can order your copies of the stamps at shop.USPS.com. There is more information about ordering first-day covers and other collectibles related to the stamps on the USPS website.

In other USPS-related news, they announced two days ago that they will now be issuing stamps with depictions of living people on them. Which we read as meaning that we’ll be inundated by celebrity stamps starting tomorrow and expect all our mail to arrive with images of Lady Gaga, Ryan Gosling and any other flavor of the moment. Though, I have to admit a Britney Spears unhinged (see, we know something about philately) stamp series sounds pretty darn awesome. Now, that would be a gift of the gods to mail artists everywhere.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.