It is a great honor for Robert Edward Auctions to have been chosen by Dick Perez to offer his personal collection of original art in the spring 2012 sale. Presented will be 185 original Dick Perez artworks, featured in twenty-eight different lots. With the exception of five, all are the original paintings featured in the award-winning book The Immortals: An Art Collection of Baseball’s Best (Brilliant Graphics, Easton, Pennsylvania, 2010), and have not appeared in published form anywhere else. The Immortals, by Dick Perez, with text by William C. Kashatus, is a comprehensive career retrospective of Perez’s finest baseball works and features over 1,400 paintings, including numerous images of every member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Robert Edward Auctions gives thanks to Dick Perez, not just for the opportunity to oversee this special presentation, but for decades of creating the images which have come to symbolize the game for collectors and fans, over a period of time that now spans generations, and has enriched all of our lives. Robert Edward Auctions thanks Dick Perez for his immeasurable contributions to the rich tradition of art and its unique role in capturing the essence of the National Pastime. The images he has created have been enjoyed by millions, and are familiar to anyone who has ever had even a passing acquaintance with Major League baseball, as a visitor to the Hall of Fame, as a collector, or even as a casual fan.
One highlight of this historic offering is the inclusion of thirty-five post Perez-Steele Hall of Fame postcard artworks. Although the published Perez-Steele postcard series ended in 2001, Dick Perez has continued to create artworks (in the same style as that of the original postcard series) for each new Hall of Fame inductee. This offering features the artwork for every Hall of Fame member elected between the years 2006 and 2011. (Robert Edward Auctions previously sold the Hall of Fame artworks created for the seven inductees between the years 2002 and 2005.)
Below is the early catalog write-up for the seventeen original Dick Perez paintings pictured above. This is an incredible group of artworks and one that we thought collectors would enjoy seeing early.
Dick Perez Original Post Perez-Steele Hall of Fame Postcard Artworks - 2006 Negro League Inductees (17)
2006 was a historic year for the Baseball Hall of Fame as it welcomed a record eighteen new inductees, including the first woman ever elected: Effa Manley. The reason for the exceptionally large incoming class was the result of a decision made one year earlier in which the Hall’s board of directors approved a special election by the Committee on African-American Baseball to consider former Negro League players and executives who were worthy of induction, but were previously overlooked by earlier committees. When the final votes were counted, seventeen individuals, all of whom were deceased, had made the cut to right this enormous historical omission, and these seventeen pioneers were honored (along with Bruce Sutter) as members of the 2006 induction class.
Every year the official portraits of the newly elected Hall of Famers are created by Dick Perez, which, in the past, would then be published in the form of a Perez-Steele Hall of Fame postcard. With the induction of seventeen Negro League players and executives, 2006 proved to be an unprecedented challenge. Offered here are the post Perez-Steele Hall of Fame postcard artworks created by the legendary artist for each of the seventeen Negro League players and/or executives inducted by special initiative in 2006. These special artworks were first published by Dick Perez in his 2010 book The Immortals: An Art Collection of Baseball’s Best, but have not yet been published as postcards because all of the subjects were elected to the Hall after Perez-Steele Galleries’ last series update in 2001. Though Perez-Steele Galleries is no longer publishing, if the Hall of Fame postcard series is updated in the future, these are the images that will be used. These seventeen paintings alone would be worthy of a card set unto themselves.
Because of the exceptionally large 2006 induction class, the production of these paintings took a great deal of time and effort. They are being offered together as this is how they were intended to be displayed and because of their extraordinary significance as a collection. This is certainly the largest offering of Perez-Steele Hall of Fame postcard artworks ever to appear at auction as a collection (with the exception of Tinker, Evers, and Chance being sold as a trio many years ago, we have never seen even two Dick Perez Hall of Fame postcard original artworks offered together), and also the most important. The seventeen individuals portrayed in this group represent some of the finest players in the history of the game, who, simply due to the color or their skin, were for decades denied the recognition they truly deserved by organized baseball. In that sense, these paintings, in addition to celebrating the careers of the pioneers elected in 2006, tell a story and provide imagery in tribute to all the Negro League stars who toiled in obscurity in years past. While we understand that these paintings might sell for more if offered individually, it was Mr. Perez’s hope that if offered as a collection, it might be more practical for a buyer to consider purchasing the entire collection of seventeen paintings with the intention of keeping it intact, to be displayed together as intended. Each painting is done in watercolor on 100% cotton fiber arches WC paper and measures 13 x 18 inches.
The seventeen 2006 Negro League Hall of Fame inductees represented in this collection are: 1) Biz Mackey; 2) Pete Hill; 3) Frank Grant; 4) Andy Cooper; 5) Willard Brown; 6) Ray Brown; 7) Effa Manley; 8) Jose Mendez; 9) Alex Pompez; 10) Cum Posey; 11) Louis Santop; 12) Jud Wilson; 13) Mule Suttles; 14) L. L. Wilkinson; 15) Sol White; 16) Cristobal Torriente; and 17) Ben Taylor.