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

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a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions