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1983 The Seamless Web Original Baseball Installation Artwork by Mark Rucker
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $3,190.00
Extraordinary installation artwork by Mark Rucker entitled The Seamless Web, created for use as the cover illustrations (both front and back cover) for the Hall of Fame's fall 1983 edition (Vol. 2, No. 1) of The National Pastime, an annual publication of the Society for American Baseball Research. This is one of the most fascinating and captivating artistic tributes to the history of the game we have ever seen. Mark Rucker is extremely well known as one of the most accomplished baseball historians, and as a professional image archivist he has also made extraordinary contributions to the chronicling of the game, creating "The Rucker Archives" over a period of twenty-five years, one of the most important and extensive collections of baseball images ever assembled. Less well known is the fact that Rucker is also a very accomplished artist, who in the early 1980s had gallery showings in New York and Washington. Occasionally his art and appreciation of baseball history crossed paths, and this work is the most extraordinary and elaborate of his baseball-related works. Technically, the artwork is comprised of twenty separate original paintings (gouache on paper, each mounted on wood), each featuring a single standing image of a baseball great. The paintings are designed to be displayed in a beautiful hand-crafted wooden "stadium." The players, chosen by The National Pastime editor John Thorn, are greats from all eras. Together the twenty players comprise two all-star teams spanning all eras, from the earliest days of organized baseball through then-modern times (1982), presenting these stars on the same field in a "seamless web" of time and imagination. Each of the player paintings measures 4 x 9 inches. Two players are represented at each position, plus two batters. The "stadium" is both a part of the larger artwork and a very substantial work of art in itself. Measuring an impressive 37 x 41 x 8 inches, the "stadium" features ten individual slots for the placement of the artworks (only ten players can be displayed at a time) as well as various attached advertising signs (also painted by Rucker) including those for Fatima Cigarettes, Jax Beer, and Coca-Cola. The Seamless Web is accompanied by a custom-made Lucite covering to allow for protected display. These are the players represented by the twenty individual artworks (by position): LF: Ted Williams and Sam Thompson. CF: Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. RF: Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. 3B: Mike Schmidt and Pie Traynor. SS: George Wright and Honus Wagner. 2B: Jackie Robinson and Nap Lajoie. 1B: Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers. P: Sandy Koufax and Jim Creighton. C: King Kelly and Josh Gibson. Batter: Ty Cobb and Pete Rose. Each of the artworks has been signed and dated (1983) by Rucker. As for the selection of the twenty players, John Thorn states in his preface to The National Pastime that "These are not Mark's nominations for the game's best players, nor the editor's—simply twenty picturesque, important men who span the game's history from 1860 to 1983." They are, nonetheless, two all-star teams that span the ages, and only in this extraordinary installation artwork do these stars share the same field. Both the artworks and "stadium" remain in Near Mint to Mint condition. The Seamless Web is accompanied by a copy of the 1983 edition of The National Pastime. Rarely does a work of art relating to the history of baseball have a greater presence or make for a more spectacular conversation piece. Please note: Due to the size and weight of this piece, and depending on where it is sent, shipping fees for this item could be substantial. Total: 22 items (20 artworks, "stadium," and published periodical). Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,190.00
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