"Pistol Pete" Maravich Original Painting by Bernie Fuchs

Sold For: $3,819

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1491

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Original painting of "Pistol Pete" Maravich by renowned sports artist Bernie Fuchs. Signed by Fuchs in the lower right corner. The painting, which pictures Maravich as a member of the New Orleans Jazz, dates from the height of his NBA career and captures him as he drives to the basket. Very few significant paintings of Maravich exist. This is not only one of them but arguably the finest. Bernie Fuchs (1932-2009 ) was one of America's foremost illustrators. His paintings have graced the covers and pages of almost every major magazine, including Sports Illustrated , McCalls , Cosmopolitan , TV Guide , Redbook , and Ladies Home Journal , as well as numerous books. During the course of his long and distinguished career he has received over 100 honors and awards. In 1975, he became the youngest artist ever elected to the Society of Illustrators' prestigious Hall of Fame (an honor also bestowed upon Norman Rockwell, Frederic Remington, and Winslow Homer) and in 1991 was named Sport Artist of the Year by the American Sport Art Museum and Archives. He has also been commissioned to do portraits of many sitting U.S. Presidents, including John F. Kennedy (which now resides in the permanent collection of the Kennedy Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts), Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Numbered among his additional commissioned work are paintings for Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ted Koppel, and Katharine Hepburn. Even the U.S. Postal Service sought out his talent in 1998 when they commissioned illustrations for four U.S. postage stamps (folk musicians Huddie Ledbetter, Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, and Josh White).

Fuchs has deftly illuminated Maravich's image within a sea of muted purples and reds that not only give the painting an ethereal quality not commonly found in a sports painting, but also highlight his extraordinary technique with regard to light and composition. This is the definitive image of Maravich and one that, we are told, was used to illustrate both New Orleans Jazz program and yearbook covers, as well as tickets and promotional materials for the club during the mid 1970s. Its use on so many Jazz-related items is more than understandable given Maravich's legendary status in Louisiana at the time. Maravich starred at LSU for three seasons (1968-1970), where he became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division 1 basketball with 3,667 points. Maravich was selected third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1970 NBA draft and immediately established himself in the league by averaging 23.2 points a game and earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team at season's end. After four outstanding years with Atlanta, Maravich was traded to New Orleans (for eight players) where he once again gave Louisiana basketball fans a show they would not soon forget. It was with the Jazz, between the years 1974 and 1979, that Maravich established himself as one of the NBA's most electrifying players. Among his many achievements and honors during that time were one scoring title (1976/1977), two All NBA First Team selections, and two All NBA Second Team selections. Maravich retired in 1980 and in 1987 he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The painting, rendered in watercolor on canvas, measures 26 x 34 inches and has been framed to total dimensions of 30 x 39 inches. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,819

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