Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pete Rose (1985) Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s Pete Rose portrait was the idea of Cincinnati based art collector Carl Solway. Solway got into fine art collecting almost by accident. He attended University of Pennsylvania where he met his first wife who was working at the Philadelphia Art Museum. This connection led Solway to a return to his native Cincinnati and a career as an art dealer.

Pete Rose

In 1985 Carl Solway was driving home listening to a Reds game on the radio when broadcaster and former player Joe Nuxhall mentioned that Pete Rose was expected to break Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record later that year. This gave Solway an idea

“It would be so cool if the art community could do something about that, instead of just the jocks and the sports people” 

He discussed the idea with the Cincinnati Art Museum and Andy Warhol’s agent. Everyone agreed to the deal and a price of $100,000 was set for the commission. However Andy Warhol had one question:

“Who is Pete Rose”

Eventually Andy Warhol did find out who Pete Rose was and created this really fun portrait.

Pete Rose (1985)

The portrait is the property of the Cincinnati Art Museum where it hangs whenever it is not on loan. It measures approximately 9x7' with each of the individual panels 54x44"

This is the last of Andy Warhol’s three major baseball related paintings and features several of his signature techniques:
  1. It is of course a silkscreen
  2. It is bright and colorful – lets face it if your subject is Pete Rose you better be colorful
  3. Seriagraph (Repetition)
  4. It appropriates a Photograph. This photograph is by Gordon Baer and appeared in "Pete Rose on Hitting"
  5. It appropriates a familiar artifact of pop culture, in this case the design of a 1985 Baseball Card
It is interesting to compare and contrast Pete Rose with Baseball (1962). While the paintings appear very different, there are many stylistic gestures that remain. The biggest difference is Black & White vs Color. For similarities we have Two Silkscreens, Two Photographs used for Appropriation, and Two Seriagraphs.

Of course the serigraph for Rose is totally different than Baseball/Maris. Limiting Rose to Four large images rather than three dozen smaller ones makes the subject instantly recognizable, whereas in Baseball we are not even sure that the picture is of Roger Maris.

 “Pete Rose” made it’s debut at the Cincinnati Art Museum on September 10 1985, in a case of remarkably good timing this was just a day prior to the night that Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s record.

For more detailed  information check out the various links below for interesting stories regarding 
Andy Warhol’s “Pete Rose” (unlinked titles are columns that I hope to cover in the future)
SABR Presentation: The Andy Warhol Triple Play (the Rose portion starts at 5:00)
The related slides can be downloaded here
Carl Solway
Donahue (1985 SEP 12) 
1985 Topps
Golden Ratio
Reds @ Mets 1985 JUL 22-24 (The portrait sitting that never happened / Phyllis George Memorial)
Gordon Baer  (Pete Rose Batting RH & holding a white bat)
Switch Hitting
Pete Rose II (Lavender Single)
Pete Rose and Warhol after 1985

Trading Cards and Art
Jean-Michel Basquiat (Nick SABR BB Card Blog)
Don Celender
Dick Perez
Gerry Dvorak
Vernon Wells Sr
Bill Forsyth
Peter Max

Sources and Links
Andy Warhol Index
Pete Rose Index
Carl Solway
Solway Gallery
Cincinnati Art Museum
CityBeat 2010 May 19 “A Life in Artworks” - Steven Rosen
CityBeat 2010 Aug 24 “Warhol’s Pete Rose Portrait Turns 25” - Steven Rosen
City Beat 2015 Apr 7 "Warhol's Baseball Art is a Hit at CAM" - Steve Rosen
Sports Illustrated 1985 Aug 19 “On Deck For The Big Knock” Rick Reilly
New York Times 1985 Jul 14 “Rose Still Hustling, Still Hitting at 44” Ira Berkow
Andy Warhol Diaries (Pat Hackett) 
Pete Rose on HItting (Golenbock/Rose)


Fuji said...

Very cool.

Nick Vossbrink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Vossbrink said...

FWIW I have a few other Baseball Cards and Art posts on SABR.

On Mike Mandel's Baseball photographer Trading Cards

And if you extend artist to include photographers then there's this post about cards which credit the photographer.

I'm also seriously considering a post on David Levinthal
(I have written about him in general, just not exclusively the baseball photos

And one on Tabitha Soren

deal said...

Baseball Card Art Mikhail Horowitz

Unknown said...

I have a print of this from 1985. Much smaller though Approximately 5.5” x 7” overall. I believe it to be some sort of promotional print. It was given to me by my uncle who was employed by the print house who was commissioned for the job. Does anyone know anything about this? I’ve never seen another one

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