Few sports artists are famous enough to receive the ultimate tribute of a New York Times obituary upon their death. But like LeRoy Neiman, Andy Jurinko (1939-2011) was a true master of his craft with an avid collector following. The New Jersey-born lifelong Phillies fan began his career in advertising, design and female portraiture, before devoting himself almost exclusively to baseball art in the 1990s. Mixing realism and impressionism with a flair for radiant hues and a passion for historic moments, Jurinko developed a style all his own and published two coffee-table books focusing on the players of the 1946-1960 period: Heart of the Game (2004) and Golden Boys (2011). "Where Andy really touched a chord was in the images he drew of defunct ballparks," said Marty Appel in the NYT obit. "He recognized that baseball fans not only have an allegiance to players, but also to their ballparks. And when he reached back to those ballparks, people immediately recalled what it was like going to their first games with their dads." Author Ray Robinson, in the Golden Boys foreword, reminisced, "Andy had an almost total recall of the names and faces of most of the men who had played the game in his growing-up years...With an almost poetic touch with his artist's brush, he has memorialized the time that he loved the best. Most of the players that he has drawn for us are worthy of being remembered, even if a few are there only because Andy was fond of their grizzled faces." In any retrospective of Jurinko's life and times, it should also be noted that the artist was deeply and personally affected by the September 11th attacks. Shards of plane debris shot into the damaged loft of his home studio, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, and Andy and his wife were displaced for 18 months before returning. The final years of his career were spent creating large-scale glamorous portraits of the female form.
We are proud to present five of Andy Jurinko's premier pieces in this auction, each of which is signed and dated by Jurinko on the front or reverse. The stretched canvases are bordered with wood paneling to slightly larger dimensions (except for the unbordered Cepeda).
This homage to Orlando Cepeda was created by Jurinko in 1998-99 and measures 16x20. It appears on Page 212 of Golden Boys, where the caption reads, "Cepeda was one of the new players who energized the Giants' climb to third place in 1958. His numbers: 25 homers, 96 RBIs, and a .312 average earned him the league's Rookie of the Year award. He hit a towering home run in the Giants' opening day win against the Dodgers and quickly became San Francisco's first hometown hero, despite the peerless play of Willie Mays, who was more identified with New York."