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Art at Home Plate: Philadelphia Baseball Legends on Canvas


Art at Home Plate: Philadelphia Baseball Legends on Canvas, featuring 32 original oil paintings by Dick Perez, opened at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art on January 8 and continues through February 29, 2004. (right: Dick Perez, Flannels on Canvas, 2003, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, Chuck Klein: Capturing four home run championships, two RBI titles, the Triple Crown and a batting title, all with the Phillies, Chuck Klein was a powerful hitter who finished his career with a .320 average and an even 300 homers. Along with his batting prowess, Klein was also a superb defensive right fielder who still holds the single-season mark with 44 assists in 1930. After the 1932 season, Klein was named the National League MVP. In 1936, he became the first National League player to slug four home runs in a game in the 20th century)

Dick Perez is the official artist of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Divided into three sections -- Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics and Philadelphia Native Sons -- Perez's works depict baseball legends who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, from Richie Ashburn to Connie Mack to Judy Johnson in the Negro Leagues.

Celebrating the opening of the Philadelphia Phillies' new home, Citizens Bank Park, Art at Home Plate depicts Philadelphia baseball history from the 1880s through the 1980s. Many of the paintings in Art at Home Plate depict the game of baseball in times when action photographs were not available. Perez uses color, movement of the human form and compositional lines to create imagined settings, while remaining historically true to the influences of the time including uniforms, audience habits and even background advertisements of the times.

Families can learn more about baseball and art during Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the Academy Saturday, Jan. 31 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This extraordinary day includes hands-on baseball art activities with artists Max Mason, Dane Tilgman, Jonathan Mandell and Academy alumnus Zenos Frudakis-artists whose work also will be seen at Citizens Bank Park.

Additional Take Me Out to the Ballgame family activities include ballpark give-aways, gallery tours, treasure hunts, refreshments and more. The Phillie Phanatic will be on hand to entertain the crowd and help Phanatic artist Len Epstein teach the children how to draw the Phanatic. Historic memorabilia from the Baseball Hall of Fame will also be on display.

Dick Perez was commissioned by the Phillies to create this tribute to Philadelphia baseball for the Hall of Fame Club's Cooperstown Gallery in Citizens Bank Park. Following Art at Home Plate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, these paintings will be moved to their permanent home at the new field. This exhibition is the first opportunity for the general public to view these dynamic baseball paintings. (left: Dick Perez, The Long Hard Throw, 2003, oil on canvas, 28 x 22 inches, Judy Johnson: A sure-handed third baseman from the sandlots of Delaware, Judy Johnson was a key member of some of the greatest teams in Negro league history. Though he had little power, he was a skilled contact hitter who consistently batted .300 or better. In the inaugural Negro League World Series in 1924, he led the Hilldale club with a .341 average. A smart, soft-spoken and well-respected player, Johnson later served as team captain of the 1930s Pittsburgh Crawfords, perhaps the Negro leagues' greatest dynasty)

Born in 1940 in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, Perez moved with his family to New York City in 1946. His love of baseball began with stickball in the streets of Harlem. He aspired to become a professional baseball player but realized by the age of 16 that his stroke was better suited to the canvas than the diamond. He moved to Philadelphia in 1958. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and the University of Pennsylvania.

Years of experience in illustration, graphic design and advertising resulted in a strong sense of design, command of composition and artistic maturity. Perez's involvement in sports art began in the 1970s with the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles. He is currently the official artist of both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He has painted and exhibited every Hall of Fame member, in a gallery that bears his name at the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Perez's paintings are housed in prominent private collections internationally including the collections of Presidents Reagan and Clinton. Although the art of Dick Perez has become synonymous with Major League Baseball, he is well known for his works in other sports such as football, basketball, golf, soccer, boxing, hockey and Olympic sports.

Families can enjoy Art at Home Plate at the Pennsylvania Academy free of charge, and participate in fun and educational events that combine art with America's favorite pastime.


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