Around The Board
Baseball at the Board
At the Federal Reserve Board from June 23 through October 24, 2008
Full Count (1988-1990)
Through paintings and photographs, Baseball at the Board highlights some of the players and traditions of the game of baseball in the nation's capital. The exhibition includes photographs of the individuals who made their mark on Washington professional baseball in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly those responsible for bringing Washington its only Major League World Series championship in 1924. More importantly, the exhibition presents photographs of the Homestead Grays of the National Negro League, who deserve the title of the premier baseball team in Washington. The team dominated black professional baseball with its nine consecutive Negro National League titles and three Negro League World Series championships, and provided fans with an outstanding baseball team at a time when the Washington Nationals struggled.
In addition, the exhibition includes several photos of presidential opening-day pitches. This tradition, which no other city or sport can claim, dates back to 1910 and President William Howard Taft. Since then, every President threw at least one opening-day pitch for the Washington baseball franchise. Baseball at the Board also includes paintings by Lou Grant (b. 1934) and John D. Wolfe (b. 1948). Lou Grant's paintings capture the spirit of baseball. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was a talented baseball player as a child and a frequent fan at Negro League baseball games. After attending the New York High School of Art and Design and The Cooper Union, Grant served for two years in the U.S. Army. Between 1960 and 1997, he worked as a freelance graphic designer before deciding to paint full time in 1998. His paintings have been featured in numerous exhibitions.
John D. Wolfe's work depicts specific moments in the game, often focusing on players in the Negro National League. He was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Following a tour of duty in Vietnam, Wolfe attended the Art Students League of New York. Later he established his studio in New Paltz, New York, where he continues to work today. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries, universities, and museums throughout the United States. Books that feature his work include The Total Baseball Catalog: Unique Baseball Stuff and How to Buy It by David Pietrusxa, When War Becomes Personal: An Anthology published by University of Iowa Press, and Prisoners of Culture by Elliot Gruner.
In addition, the exhibition includes a drawing of one of the figures in the sculpture Full Count by John Dreyfuss (b. 1949). Dreyfuss is a fourth-generation Washingtonian and nationally known sculptor, whose work has been included in numerous exhibitions. As a young man, he studied architecture, which shows in his choice of historic subjects and his mastery of classical forms. His sculpture Full Count (1988-1990) features life-size figures of a pitcher, catcher, batter, and umpire that are placed as they are found in an actual baseball game. In fall 2008, Full Count will be installed on the grassy area between the Federal Reserve Board's Martin Building and Virginia Avenue, where it was previously on view in 1990 and 2002.