Description1904 Pittsburg Pirates Photographic Composite by Carl Horner. Please note, as is apparent in the catalog imagery, that player identifications appear in period ink. As the era's most noteworthy and celebrated baseball photographer, Carl Horner bears the lion's share of responsibility for the manner in which we see the early game in our mind's eye. His simple yet expertly rendered studio portraits of the men populating the Dead Ball game served as the template for much of the tobacco and candy card issues of the day, most notably the image of Honus Wagner that appears upon the most coveted and valuable trading card in the collecting hobby.
That unmistakable image appears here as one of sixteen stirring photo portraits that comprise this fantastic composite celebrating the National League Champions. To nip any confusion in the bud, we'll explain that the text underneath the large image of Hall of Fame player manager Fred Clarke, reading "Pittsburg, National League 1904 Champions," actually refers to the club's 1903 pennant win. At the time, teams were considered "Champions" until another club assumed their reign. This was the club that battled for, and lost, the first World Series title against Cy Young's Boston Red Sox. This historical import is matched only by the stunning aesthetics of the piece, which pairs Horner's magical imagery with delicate interspersed artwork picturing winding flowered vines and the tools of the baseball trade. Handwritten identifiers underline each image. "Photos by Carl Horner, Boston" is announced at lower right.
The enormity of the display, which stretches the tape measure to 17x21", only furthers the tremendous visual appeal. While we are aware that the primary function of this display was for publication in newspapers of the day, we cannot state for certain the purpose of this print, though certainly the original population was tiny and has been whittled away to a scant few in existence today. It is likely that it was produced only for players and VIP's, as was the case withmost oversized imagery of the day due to the significant expense of production. The only point to mention in terms of condition is very minor dampstaining at the outermost edges of the mat, well clear of the composite itself, which remains pristine but for a half inch spot in the blank field over Clarke's left shoulder at center. Original matting and framing extends the final dimensions to 23x27". Third party shipping is required.
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