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1953 Kentucky Derby Upset

1953 Kentucky Derby Upset "Finish Line" Oil on Canvas by Daniel Schwartz - Featured in 1960 Esquire Magazine

Entitled “Finish Line,” this masterful work shows the stunning upset by Dark Star over heavy favorite Northern Dancer in the 1953 Kentucky Derby. The piece was created by illustrator Daniel Schwartz for the Esquire magazine editorial “Highlights of a Golden Decade” by renowned sports author Roger Kahn (Boys of Summer, 1972). Published in the December 1960 issue, this was a nostalgic look back at the decade in close. Signed by the artist at bottom right, the verso is stamped “Daniel Bennett Schwartz” (the date was removed following its publication). Measures 24 x 30”. The reason why this upset was so shocking is that Northern Dancer was just about the most famous racehorse ever up to that time, in part because of his exposure by television. In fact, he was the first horse to benefit from broadcast of the medium. Daniel Schwartz is an award-winning illustrator who has worked for such top periodicals as Esquire, Fortune and Playboy. His works are in the collections of Leonard Bernstein, William Styron, Gay Talese, William Paley and Daniel Selznick. A sculptor as well, he was commissioned by the NFL in 1968 to create the bronze that became the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.


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