Thursday, July 26, 2018

Happy 75th Birthday Mick Jagger

Found out on via Twitter today is Mick Jagger's 75th Birthday.

2014 Topps Heritage #NF-TRS The Rolling Stones

The Stones made 2014 Topps Heritage as part of the retro-theme sets News Flashbacks Insert. The card celebrates the June 6 1965 release of the single "Satisfaction".

The inserts nod to the original 1965 set is the pennant in the bottom right corner plus a a 60s flavored color pallet. I find it odd that Topps elected to round 3 of the corners instead of four as in the orginal. Perhaps that better balances the design.

 Flip
2014 Topps Heritage #NF-TRS The Rolling Stones (b-side)

The backside of the card gives a brief history of the hit "Satisfaction". The 1965T theme carries through to the backside with the familiar light blue colors and a cartoon - As with all Heritage sets the same generic cartoon runs across the entire insert. 

"Satisfaction" was the closing encore by the Stones the only time I saw them in 2006. A week later it was one of three songs featured in their SuperBowl Performance.

Sources and Links
Rolling Stones Index
imdb
youtube 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pete Rose (1985) Andy Warhol: The Original Gordon Baer Photograph

One of the Pop Art techniques that Andy Warhol pioneered was the appropriation of photographs. He starting using the PhotoSilkscreen process in 1962 - this allowed him to 1) enlarge a photograph and 2) project the image onto a canvas multiple times. His first use of this method can be seen in the painting Baseball.

Andy would use the PhotoSilkscreen once again when he produced his portrait of Pete Rose in 1985.

Originally it was hoped that Pete Rose would visit Andy Warhol[s studio for his portrait, alas the busy schedules of the two men made coordinating the sitting impossible.

Warhol ended up doing the Rose portrait based off of photographs, The principal photograph used was one by Cincinnati based photographer Gordon Baer

Pete Rose: Gordon Baer Photo (left) and Andy Warhol Portrait Detail (right)

This is the only copy of the Baer photo that I could get. I assume the one that Warhol used was in color, however most of Gordon Baer's photography was in B&W.

Baseball historians have noted two interesting issues with the Warhol painting. In 1985 Pete Rose used a Black Mizuno brand bat, in the Warhol painting the bat has a clear stain. Notice that the bat in the Baer photograph also has a natural stain.

The second complaint is that the switch-hitting Rose was portrayed batting right-handed by Andy Warhol. "Only" 1171 of Pete Rose's 4256 career hits (28%) came from the right hand side. By 1985 the percentage of Rose's RH hits dropped below 16% (17/107). Once again since Andy was reproducing a photo with Rose batting right-handed he ended up with a RH painting.

Pete Rose on Hitting
During the 1985 season there was a flurry of activity around Pete Rose's pursuit of Ty Cobb's hit record. One of these projects was "Pete Rose on Hitting: How to Hit Better than Anybody" which Pete co-wrote with Peter Golenbock. The photography for the book was done by Gordon Baer and includes the picture that Andy Warhol used for the Rose portrait.

Unfortunately this picture in "Pete Rose on Hitting" brings up a third problem with Warhol's portrait:

Pete Rose on Hitting: How to Hit Better than Anybody

Yes the photo used by Andy is a associated with Pete Rose's entry dedicated to bunting.

Gordon Baer
Gordon Baer's work dates back to the 1960s including a stint as a military photographer in Korea. During the 1980s his NYC exhibition titled "The Battle Comes Home" featured photographs of Viet Nam veterans - many of whom likely suffered from the then unnamed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You can read about his a 2012 retrospective of Baer's work here.

Sources and Links
Andy Warhol Pete Rose Index
Andy Warhol Index
Pete Rose IndexCincinnati Art Museum
Pete Rose on Hitting - Peter Golenbock Pete Rose
AEQAI - A Look Back at a Life in Pictures: Photographs by Gordon Baer 2012 OCT 12
Capturing the Essence City Beat - Jane Durrell
Warhol's Baseball Art is a Hit at CAM City Beat - Steve Rosen 2015 APR 7
Baseball-ref

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tom Seaver (1977) Andy Warhol: 1977 July 20 - A Tale of Two Caps

1983 Topps #581 Super Veteran Tom Seaver

One of the reasons Richard Weisman picked Tom Seaver for Andy Warhol's Athlete's Series is that he was the ballplayers proximity to New York would make it easy to set up a portrait sitting at the artists studio in Manhattan.

Unfortunately things happen...


NYT 1977 Jun 16

On June 15th of 1977 the Mets traded Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds. I am not going to go into the ugly details that led up to the trade, I will only note that the Mets-Seaver relationship did not end on friendly terms.

As we noted earlier despite the trade Seaver was able to sit for the Warhol portrait when he retuned to New York for the All-Star Game. Within the Warhol Diaries there is an interesting anecdote about the Seaver and the Mets.

The first passage discusses how much Andy Warhol appreciated Seaver and Athletes in general, The 2nd and 3rd portion get to our "Tale of Two Caps"


This is a mere month after Seaver was traded by the Mets and he was still angry with the club. What Andy relates here...

"He hates the Mets now. He'd just bought a new house in Connecticut and everything when they traded him"

Is so brutally honest. It isn't really new information. Anyone familiar with the Mets or Seaver knows the details, but it is interesting seeing it from a non-baseball perspective.

The wound was still raw for Seaver and clearly his feelings towards the Mets left an impression on Warhol. It is the kind of thing a perceptive artist who only sat with his subject for an hour may find out that a reporter with a microphone may not.  

Thanks to photographer Rene Perez we have some interesting documentation of "A Tale of Two Caps"


AP Image / Rene Perez

We have Andy photographing Tom wearing a Reds cap, but then we can look down and THERE IT IS! The Mets Cap that Tom Seaver refused to wear for this portrait sitting.

Fortunately for Tom Seaver and the Mets, they have resolved their differences. Tom Seaver's #41 is retired by the club and can be seen on the walls at Citifield

To read more about the Tom Seaver Portrait sitting click here.

Sources and Links
Andy Warhol Tom Seaver Index
Andy Warhol Index
The Warhol Diaries
1977 JUL 20: Tom Seaver Portrait Sitting  with Andy Warhol
New York Times
Rene Perez
AP Images

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tom Seaver (1977) Andy Warhol: 1977 July 20 - The Portrait Sitting

The commission of Andy Warhol's Athletes Series was funded by investment banker and art collector Richard Weisman.  Since Warhol was unfamiliar with figures in the sports world if fell on Richard Weisman to pick the subjects. The first two athletes he picked were New York Rangers Hockey player Rod Gilbert and Tom Seaver.

Part of the reason the two were chosen was proximity, both athletes played for New York teams which simplified getting them to Andy Warhol's studio which was also located in the city.

Unfortunately for Weisman on June 15th 1977 the New York Mets traded Tom Seaver to the New York Mets.

Seaver's first return to New York was just under a month later for the All-Star Game at Yankee stadium on July 19th. A day later Tom Seaver was at Andy Warhol's factory to sit for his Athletes Portrait.


AP Images / Rene Perez

I love this photo. Two of New York's most iconic figures from the mid-1970s. They have the tools of their trade in hand, Andy with his camera, Tom with his glove. In the quaint pre-MegaMerchandising days of 1977 the players likely didn't wear special uniforms for special games so I am thinking there is a good chance that the Travel Jersey worn by Seaver here may be the same one he wore during the previous nights All-Star game.

Thanks to Rene Perez, who is now a fine art photographer, we have several great photos of the Seaver portrait sitting. The pictures are a nice document of how Andy Warhol worked while with a portrait subject.

I am think the above photo is of our two heroes executing a celebrity gift exchange. Seaver is likely giving Warhol and autographed bat, in return Tom probably received a signed copy of Andy's most recent book at the time which was "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol"

As a side note, I learned from the Louisville Slugger tour that they brand the player signature onto the bat if there is an exclusive deal between the parties.  Otherwise, players getting bats from multiple companies receive the block letter treatment that is on the Seaver bat.


AP Images / Rene Perez

For the reference photos Andy Warhol used a Polaroid Big Shot camera, which we see in this second Rene Perez photo. To read more about the camera check out Camerapedia.

Warhol found the camera favorable for a couple of reasons, first and foremost he liked the pictures it took, secondly I believe the artist liked the intimacy it created between him and his subject. To take a good picture Polaroid cameras require the photographer to be in close proximity of the subject. This closeness is important to an artist who may only spend an hour with his subject.

Finally Polaroids provided one other asset in the pre-digital 1970s...


AP Images / Rene Perez

Instant feedback.

This way Andy Warhol could find out which pictures Seaver liked and which he did not. Typically a few of these Polaroids would be blown up to a large size and Andy would choose one to create the stencil for the final silkscreen.

The Polaroid ultimately chosen is below: 


To see the Warhol-Seaver Polaroids we have found click here.

Carlos Rene Perez
The black and white photos in this post were taken by Rene Perez who was working as a stringer at the time. He is still active and has some fine art photography I found interesting especially his Edward Hopper inspired pictures, his website can be found here.

The Warhol Portrait Process
For as ubiquitous as Andy Warhol was with celebrities during the 1970s pictures documenting him at work seem pretty rare on line. We are very lucky to have the Rene Perez which happen to feature a Hall of Fame pitcher. The only other pictures I found in Getty Images were of Warhol's session with pop artist Pia Zadora.

There is also a 20/20 segment on YouTube that features Andy photographing model Farah Fawcett

Sources and Links
Andy Warhol Tom Seaver Index
Andy Warhol Index
The Warhol Diaries
Rene Perez
AP Images
Danziger Gallery
Getty Images / Life Magazine
youtube (20/20)
 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bsseball (1962) Andy Warhol - Roger Maris ??

At the 2018 SABR convention held recently in Pittsburgh I had the pleasure of presenting some research I had done on the baseball paintings of Andy Warhol.

Over the next few weeks I plan on posting those works here with some information from the presentation and other related material.

For a guide to all postings you can find my Warhol Index here.

Baseball - Andy Warhol (1962)

The earliest of the artworks I discussed is Warhol's 1962 painting simply titled "Baseball". Full size the painting measures 91 1/2 x 82" and can be seen at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City.

"Baseball" was originally displayed at New York's Stable Gallery on November 6th 1962. This was just months after the famous Soup Cans made their debut in Los Angeles. These were among Andy Warhol's first forays as an independent artists after a decade spent in New York as a successful commercial artist. 

The painting doesn't really capture a specific player and that is why we see the generic name "Baseball", Warhol is trying to capture the sport, not a player. The catalog raisonne (comprehensive directory of an artists works) for Andy Warhol listed the subject as Roger Maris in the 1970s, however this is currently being debated. That is a discussion reserved for a future posting.

At first glance "Baseball" may look atypical of Warhol's catalogue. However, it does feature three significant techniques that the artist would use throughout the remainder of his career.

1) Silkscreen - The mechanical process of applying the paint, a technique that Warhol pioneered within the Fine Art community.
2) Seriagraph - The Repetition of an image. In this case the Photo is repeated roughly 3 dozen times.
3) Appropriation - The use of an existing image or style, in this case the re-use of a previously published Photograph.

Notice the first technique I mentioned in the listing was Silkscreen, More specifically the process is a Photo-Silkscreen. This is as it sounds using a photograph to create a silkscreen. In 1962 this was a revolutionary procedure, one of which Warhol would employ the rest of his career.  Warhol spoke about this in a 1981 interview:

    
The important words here are right at the beginning of the underlined portion of the quote "...that's how it all started.". Yes the Soup Cans may have kick started Andy Warhol's career but the key concept of the photo-silkscreen which allowed him to mass produce art didn't happen to a few months later - and that technique was first used by the artist to create "Baseball" based off a photo believed to be of Roger Maris.

I will go into more detail regarding this and the other Andy Warhol baseball paintings in the future, Most of it will be art related, some baseball related and a few things trading card related.

Baseball (1962) Index (subjects I hope to cover regarding this painting)

the Stable Gallery
Single Plate of Batter
Men in Her Life
Deb Kass

Sources and Links
Andy Warhol Index
Nelson Atkins Gallery 
I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews (Barry Blinderman Arts Magazine)
Huffington Post

Monday, June 25, 2018

The EIght flavours of Andy Warhol's Tom Seaver(1977) Painting

There are 8 flavors of the Andy Warhol Tom Seaver painting. These are the ones I have found so far:

Baseball Hall of Fame

Light Blue on right side, lavender to right side of face and on neck, rust brown above and behind head, red color 

University of Maryland

Green behind glove, Blue above head, brown behind head.


Seaver Family

Green Background

Christie's Auction (2013)

Blue front, no flair behind head.

Christie's Auction 2011