August Live 2014
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Like Lou Gehrig relative to Babe Ruth, Bruce Stark (1933-2012) long dwelled in the shadow of fellow New York Daily News illustrator Bill Gallo. But after winning two National Cartoonist Society "Reuben Awards" during a prolific 22-year Daily News career (1960-82), Stark turned his focus exclusively to realist portraiture in the 1980s and saw his star rise higher in the art world—even drawing comparisons to no less than Norman Rockwell himself. (A list of lifetime awards and achievements can be found by clicking here.)
Befitting Stark's life trajectory, it's Gehrig here who proudly takes center stage for his moment in the sun, while Ruth kindly waits in the wings, taking a back seat. The exacting, methodical detail that defines the Bruce Stark aesthetic is on full glorious display, from Lou and Babe's flawless likenesses to the painstakingly rendered minutiae of every last nook and cranny in the cement step, wooden floorboards, roof facade and equipment bags. "He was the best," says Bruce's son Ron Stark, who now carries the torch of the family tradition. "I could never aspire to be his equal. He sets the standard for me and I think for all sports artists." Indeed, Ron recalls the story of his father's "proudest moment" when Bruce ran across his idol Willard Mullin at the Reuben Award banquet and called out, "You're the best, Willard!"—to which Mullin shouted back, "Nope, tonight you are!"
In terms of its technical description, the artwork measures 20" x 30" and bears a negligible upper-left-corner ding that could easily be concealed upon framing. Also, in case it is not clear from our catalog photos, the whitish region along the top border is actually the sunlight shining through the grandstand.
Lou Gehrig Oil-on-Panel Painting by Bruce Stark - Featuring Babe Ruth Cameo Appearance
Click above for larger image.