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1904 Boston Americans vs. Chicago White Sox Game Panorama - Extremely Large
Starting Bid - $1,500.00 , Sold For - $8,812.50
Long considered by collectors to be one of the most striking baseball panoramas ever produced, this rare example captures a game in progress between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox at Chicago's South Side Park on August 14, 1904. The spectacular image, taken from the perspective of the left-field bleachers, encompasses nearly the entire field and grandstand areas, including all of the players. The White Sox are in the field, with the Boston batter patiently waiting at the plate as the pitcher tends to the rubber. The printed identification at the base of the photo reads "American League Park Chicago - Boston and Chicago - Aug 14 1904 - Attandance 30,198." The photographer's credit, "The Geo. R. Lawrence Co. - Copyright 1904," appears in the lower left corner.
What truly distinguishes this particular panorama from others produced at the time is its extraordinary combination of scope and clarity. Whereas the length of standard panoramas is approximately five times greater than their width (i.e., 40 x 8 inches), providing only a narrow "window" back in time, the offered piece presents a vista of mammoth proportions. The visible area of the photo measures 33 x 15 inches, thus offering a much more detailed view of the field. When looking at this piece, one can truly imagine that he or she is sitting in the left-field stands watching the action as it took place over 100 years ago. That effect is heightened by the exceptional clarity and contrast presented here. Every detail of the photo is remarkably clear and bright. This game was an important contest that summer, as evidenced by the filled-to-capacity grandstands. Chicago held a slim one-game lead over the Red Sox on August 14th, but by the end of the day they would be tied due to Boston's 5-2 victory. The Red Sox eventually held off both the White Sox and New York Highlanders to capture their second consecutive pennant in the fledgling American League.
The sheer size of this photo should come as no surprise to those familiar with the work of George Lawrence. In 1901 Lawrence produced the then largest photograph in history with his 8-foot by 4.5-foot photo of the Alton Limited, described at the time as the "Handsomest Train in the World." That photo later earned Lawrence the award of "Grand Prize of the World for Photographic Excellence" at the European Exposition. One of the most innovative and successful commercial photographers of his era, Lawrence delighted in producing awe-inspiring images of grand size, a fact duly noted in his business slogan that read "The Hitherto Impossible in Photography is Our Specialty." He was also a pioneer in the field of aerial photography, often using kites and balloons, known as his "airships," to suspend his camera hundreds of feet above the ground in order to produce photos of unprecedented scale. Lawrence produced a number of memorable baseball photos over the years, many of which captured World Series action in his hometown of Chicago. The offered piece is considered among his finest baseball works.
It must be noted that as large and impressive as this photo is, it is slightly smaller than originally issued due to moderate paper loss along all four borders (the original photo measured 44.5 x 18.25 inches). Despite the condition anomaly, the central image area remains completely intact and the photo, which is dry mounted on board, has been handsomely matted and framed so that no trace of any edge imperfections are visible. While technically in Good condition, the photo displays as Excellent and remains a paragon of early twentieth century baseball photography. As a point of reference, this is only the second example of this important panorama that we have ever offered. The other example, which was complete and in extraordinary Near Mint condition, was offered as Lot 18 in the Robert Edward Auctions July 15, 2000 sale and sold for $13,893. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 40.75 x 24.5 inches. Disclosure per section 13 of REA's terms and conditions: This lot has been consigned from the personal collection of an executive or employee of Robert Edward Auctions (or a relative of an executive or employee). Please Note: Due to the size and/or weight of this lot, shipping costs (depending on where it is sent and its method of shipping) may be substantial. Reserve $1,500. Estimate $3,000/$5,000. SOLD FOR $8,812.50
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