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Important WPA baseball painting by the longtime Director of the National Academy of Design, Vernon C. Porter. Magnificent oil-on-canvas of a “negro” baseball game in progress on 111th Street in New York City conjures images of a bygone time. Marvelously brownstone windows are filled with action with neighbors brimming out in spirited detail. Streets are lined with watchful mothers on the stoops and girls and younger boys wishing they too could play. Emphasis is on the baseball game itself in delightful action. This is baseball not stickball as the catcher stands directly behind the batter. Signed on the verso by “Vernon C. Porter 1938 111th Street N.Y.C.” The faces are obviously brown, making this one of only a few vintage African American baseball paintings known. The WPA (Work Projects Administration 1935-43) was a U.S. government agency, under the umbrella of FDR’s New Deal. Created to put the unemployed (including artists) to work during the Depression. Their highly desirable works championed the worker and common man at its socially conscious center. What more perfect a subject than baseball? One of the few works of Porter to come up for sale, this came directly from his estate. His wife, Beata Beach Porter was also a significant artist in her own right. Canvas is 38x18” and overall 42x22” with the frame. Some minor professional repairs to the canvas. Overall excellent condition. A piece only for the most discriminating of collectors.
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