Autograph Aesthetics

Art. Baseball cards.
Art as collectible. Baseball cards as collectible.
Art signed. Baseball cards autographed.
Art as aesthetic object. Baseball card as aesthetic object.
The mark of the artist. The mark of a baseball player.
Paintings are indexed in catalogs. Baseball cards are indexed in catalogs.

Some baseball player autographs have wonderful aesthetic qualities. I went on eBay and purchased the autographs that looked most visually interesting. Then I went to the Art Institute of Chicago’s modern wing and matched up the aesthetics of the autograph with modern paintings.

1984 Enos Campbell and 1934 Paul Klee

Meandering curving lines with occasional bends. Warm colors.

• Enos Campbell, 1984 Topps #786
• Paul Klee, 1934 “In the Magic Mirror”

1991 Jim Gott and 1940 Paul Klee

Straight lines. Curved lines. Thin lines.

• Jim Gott, 1991 Fleer #200
• Paul Klee, 1940 “Dancing Girl”

1986 Scott Sanderson and 1935 Piet Mondrian

Straight lines. Blues and whites with red highlights.

Piet Mondrian, 1935 “Composition (No. 1) Gray-Red”
Scott Sanderson, 1986 Donruss #442

1991 Pat Combs and 1931 Pablo Picasso

Large curves and circles. Maroons.

Pablo Picasso, 1931 “The Red Armchair”
Pat Combs, 1991 Score #440

1973 Joan Miro and 1973 Ernie Mc Millan

Quirky shapes. Reds. Blues.

Joan Miro, 1933 “Personages with Star”
Ernie Mc Millan, 1973 Topps #488

2006-09 Brice Marden and 1972 Dal Maxvill

Squiggly lines. Greens, yellows, blues. More squiggly lines.

Brice Marden, 2006-09 “Second Letter (Zen Spring)
Dal Maxvill, 1972 Topps #206

1970 Philip Guston and 1984 Frank DiPino

Quirky thick lines. Shapely. Oranges. Goofy.

Philip Guston, 1970 “Bad Times”
Frank DiPino, 1984 Topps #532

1989 Gerhard Richter and 1988 Oddibe McDowell

Repeated rhythmic lines. Blues.

Gerhard Richter, 1989 “Ice (eis) 1, 2, 3, 4”
• Oddible McDowell, Jr., 1988 Donruss #382

1953 Jackson Pollock and 1993 Chuck McElroy

Energy lines. Some long. Some short. All thrown down.

Jackson Pollock, 1953 “Greyed Rainbow”
Chuck McElroy, 1993 Upper Deck #130

1963 Jean Debuffet and 1991 Mark Lewis

Reds and blues. Large swooping curves. Smaller detailed repeated lines.

Jean Dubuffet, 1963 “Genuflection of the Bishop”
Mark Lewis, 1991 Donruss #29

1944 Robert Motherwell and 1989 Bobby Bonilla

Simple shapes. One large circle. One semi-circle. Golds, blacks, grays and whites. Bold. Strong.

Robert Motherwell, 1944 “Wall Painting with Stripes”
Bobby Bonilla, 1989 Topps #440

1944 Robert Motherwell and 1989 Bobby Bonilla

The Art Institute of Chicago tweeted me about this project!

Share when you get the chance, Matt! We'd love to see them. Your photos combining art with old baseball cards was brilliant.

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