Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sports Art(?) Perez-Steele Brooks Robinson Hall of Fame Postcard

Note: I wrote this entry on Tuesday, June 19. On Wednesday LeRoy Neiman, who I discuss here, passed away. R.I.P

I think of three names where sports 'art' is concerned. LeRoy Neiman, Sam Bass, known for his NASCAR 'art' and Dick Perez whose is best known to baseball fans for his Hall of Fame portraits, seen on a nice set of collectible postcards

Neiman is the most universally known of the three and he was a big deal back in the day. I'm no art critic but of the three I appreciate Neiman the most. His stuff was everywhere. He was on Wheaties boxes on store shelves and in Sports Illustrated. He'd go to a big game or a big heavyweight bout and he'd have a painting done the next day commemorating it. 

I had a Muhammad Ali print he did up on the wall of my first apartment. I read somewhere that he's 1) a semi-impressionist and 2) hated by most serious art folks. Doesn't matter, I like his sports art.

Sam Bass, on the other hand, I just don't get at all. NASCAR-types (and I follow it and a lot of motorsports) just go gaga over this guys work. Hell, he's the "Officially Licensed Artist of NASCAR". Yeah, whatever. He's like the emperor with no clothes. Everyone knows he sucks but nobody says it out loud. To me it looks like something done for a high school art contest. Every year the district I work for has a Rodeo Art show and winners have their work displayed at the huge Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The also-rans in our local contest display more talent than Sam Bass. 

Your Honor, I rest my case.

And finally we have Dick Perez of the 'hobby famous' Perez-Steele Galleries. I'm generally a fan of his stuff. I really like a lot of the portraits he did for the Hall of Fame postcards. The Brooks Robinson one I'm showing at the top is a good example. His Ty Cobb and Chief Bender are really great as well.

The Hall of Fame cards were issued each year after the initial years sets that covered the inductees up to that time. I'm not sure they are still put out. From what I saw on this page it doesn't appear so. Looks like the 2001 inductees were the last ones that were issued. I've got a dozen or so. I may post them when I dig them out.

He also did a lot of work for Topps and Donruss. Not all of it, IMHO, up to the standards of his other art. But I do like his Allen & Ginter art. Nice stuff. 

Dick Perez has got a nice website. I didn't know he did some special Phiiles commissioned art. There is a lot of stuff to look at there.


  1. I don't know what to think of Perez. Most of his Diamond Kings cards -- with the exception of the earliest series -- I can't stand. I don't know if he got sloppy or what. It sure doesn't look like the A&G stuff he's done.

    1. That's pretty much how I see him. His Hall postcards and some of his A&G stuff look really good. But some of those Diamond King cards remind me of $15 boardwalk sketch-while-you-wait caricatures.