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Old 06-09-2017, 08:38 PM
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Raymond Culpepper
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Default Yet Another Question I Have Asked Before:

Who was the artist of the 1953 Topps Baseball set?

I believe his work is very underappreciated.
While there are a few I don't like, most are very, very good paintings IMO.


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Need the following 1953 Topps #'s in EX/MT
72,81,88,95,242,243,245,248,251,252, 255,257,258,259,260,266,276,277,278, & 280
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Old 06-09-2017, 08:50 PM
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Ben North
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Not sure who the artist was. As someone who collects Eddie Mathews it is my favorite card of his. It is just beautiful.
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Old 06-09-2017, 08:56 PM
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Raymond Culpepper
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Good Call, Ben...that's a good one.


Two of my favorites are on the wall right in front of me:

In Autographed (by player, not artist), matted and framed

limited to 150 lithographs of Whitey Ford and Bob Feller.


Very Nice!
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Need the following 1953 Topps #'s in EX/MT
72,81,88,95,242,243,245,248,251,252, 255,257,258,259,260,266,276,277,278, & 280
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:07 PM
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Curt
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I assume there were multiples, but Gerry Dvorak comes to mind, as I believe he did the Mantle among others.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Baseball...52091737715502
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:16 PM
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Raymond Culpepper
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Actually, Dvorak did not paint the Mantle, but he did paint the Mathews.

Seems there's still a lot of mystery who did what:


I wonder who painted the 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle? …
Categories: The Infield Dirt
January 20, 2009 | Tom Bartsch |


In a couple of months, we are going to be watching the auction of items from the Sy Berger Collection that include original paintings from 1953 Topps, and included in that grouping will likely be work from the legendary artist Gerry Dvorak.

It is a point of considerable irony that Dvorak is remembered more in our hobby – he was also an animator for cartoons like Popeye and Casper the Friendly Ghost – for a painting that he didn’t do than he is for the estimated four dozen that he actually did for the classic 1953 Topps set.

When the Mickey Mantle original artwork from the 1953 set sold for $121,000 in the 1989 Guernsey’s Topps Archives Auction in New York City, it provided the hobby and the mainstream media with a good glimpse of what was to come over the next 20 years.

In that ensuing two decades, the notion that Dvorak had painted that iconic gem has become widespread, but it just ain’t so. When the auction was held there was no mention at all of who the artists where who painted the half-dozen originals in the auction (Mantle, Mays, Campanella, Feller, Ford and Jackie Robinson), and not a peep since. I can promise you that if the guy who painted the Mantle were still alive, he likely would have stepped forward at the time and got some mileage out of his 15 minutes of fame.

In doing some of the editing for the Mickey Mantle Collectibles Series currently under way in SCD, the question came up again, so I went back and did some research. In a wonderful article in the August 1984 issue of Baseball Cards Magazine, Dvorak told interviewer Paul Green that he thought he had done about 50, and identified nearly a dozen from the set that he remembered.

That list included Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Red Schoendienst, but he also specifically conceded that he hadn’t done the Mantle (or Mays) cards. He did explain that Topps officials had told him he could have as many cards as he wanted of the various paintings he did, or even of others that he hadn’t done, and he lamented that the Mantle and Mays cards were “the ones selling for big money.”

And remember, this was a full five years before the Guernsey’s auction, and he was talking about the value of the Topps cards, not the original artwork.
The most famous painting in the history of the hobby, and there’s nobody to lay claim to it. I’ve got a feeling this one is going to remain a mystery for a very long time.


FROM:
A Closer Look: New Findings on the 1953 Topps Baseball Set
December 4, 2015 | Tom Bartsch |
The Dvorak paintings and interview


Berger and Gelman decided to have each card painted rather than using photos. Hornish raised the possibility that the paintings may have avoided further licensing issues with Bowman as to the use of photographic images for dual-signed players. Bowman was using the opposite approach, going from paintings to photographs in 1953.

The 1984 Baseball Cards magazine had an interview by Paul Green with artist Gary Dvorak, who painted about 50 of the 1953 Topps portraits. Dvorak was brought on by Gelman because he was a young illustrator who could do realistic paintings. Topps provided black-and-white, 8-by-10 photos to Dvorak and maybe four other artists. The artists didn’t necessarily even know who the players were. They were told the uniform colors and created their own backgrounds to use behind the players from ballpark photos. Dvorak painted using opaque watercolors and produced paintings about twice the size of the cards.

Dvorak recalled having to redo the painting for Bob Borkowski because the photo he was given was not that good, and that Topps “rejected” a painting he did for Curt Simmons. Simmons did not appear in the Topps set and the rejection likely related to Simmons being under a license agreement with Bowman. He was in the Bowman sets exclusively between 1953-55. Richie Ashburn, Andy Pafko, Max Lanier and Jim Suchecki were other players who were portrayed on artwork but not on a card. Dvorak said Topps instructed them to do head and shoulder shots and not action images, although this directive must have changed later since there are several body shots in the last two runs.

Background art
Topps gave Dvorak a little grief as well for his paintings of Bobby Morgan and Willard Nixon because the backgrounds were too plain. Dvorak spiced up Clem Labine’s background with a fictitious Topps advertising sign. Sid Hudson and Willie Maranda also got Topps signs.

Artists reused background concepts. What looks like a garage roof peaks up over the fence and then moves left behind many players. A commercial building has a consistent design over the shoulders of Billy Martin and others. A scoreboard showing strikes and innings looms over Roy McMillan and others who would not have been in the same ballpark. A purplish-gray outfield fence was another fairly standard backdrop in the last run.

Although offered a set of the 1953 Topps cards, Dvorak didn’t take them, and he saved nothing from his work product. He said he was paid $25 per painting and could do two or three paintings on a weekend while moonlighting from his other job. The paintings were incredibly clear, bright and realistic. As a kid I remember thinking the paintings were really nice, and I didn’t notice the shortcuts. I tried doing some of my own.

Planning ahead to pick the players
The $25-per-painting paid to the artists added $7,000 to the production costs ($63,000 in today’s dollars). Artists would have to be given adequate lead time to crank out 280 paintings on the weekends, and Topps had to make some guesses as to who would be playing in 1953. For example, Berger’s buddy Willie Mays was in the Army for most of 1952 and all of 1953. Faye Throneberry and Dick Brodowski were in the service as well. Rookies like Bill Glynn, Dick Bokelman and Cal Hogue were up for a cup of coffee, at best, in 1953. Sam Jones played in the minors for Indianapolis for all of 1953 and 1954. Bill Norman, Dixie Walker and Johnny Riddle were coaches. Fred Hutchinson and Charlie Dressen were managers. All of the above people were included. In any event, Berger came up with 280 guys to put on cards. At least with paintings, Topps could repaint someone’s uniform if they got traded or if the entire team moved, which was the case with the Boston Braves deciding to move to Milwaukee in March 1953.
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Need the following 1953 Topps #'s in EX/MT
72,81,88,95,242,243,245,248,251,252, 255,257,258,259,260,266,276,277,278, & 280
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