Inscribed, on chest of uniform: BRIGGS
As a baseball craze took hold in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century, businesses capitalized on baseball players—known or anonymous—for advertising purposes. Such marketing efforts ranged from widely circulated trade cars to hand-carved storefront figures. Although the history of this impressive figure is unclear, it was reportedly found in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and traces of the word BRIGGS on his chest suggest a local business, team, or player by that name.
The sculpture accurately portrays a fairly early style of uniform, and appears to be missing a bat that the player originally held in his left hand. Such a loss (theft?) and multiple layers of paint suggest that it stood outside a storefront for an extended period. Although its carving style is associated with New York, it is difficult to assign the sculpture to a specific carver or shop, since several individuals generally worked on a single piece.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art
ARTH 85, Senior Seminar in Theory and Method, Mary Coffey, Fall 2015
A Century of American Art, University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire, January 15-February 15, 1966.
American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe Hall Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 9-December 9, 2007.
American Folk Art at the Hood Museum of Art (a thematic partial permanent gallery installation); Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, July 16, 2015.
American Folk Figures, Barrows Rotunda, Hopkins Center Art Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 11-September 28, 1980.
Canadian World Exhibition, October 1966.
Gifts of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Carpenter Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 11-July 11, 1976.
Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 1, 2019-September 12, 2021.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 6, 1991-June 22, 1997.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 16, 1997-May 8, 2007.
Museum of American Folk Art, New York City, New York, December 1970.
Signs of the Times, Desmoines Art Center, Desmoines, Iowa, December 6, 1963-January 19, 1964; Addison Gallery of American Art, Des Moines, Iowa, February 15-March 22, 1964.
USIA Pavilion, Montreal, Canada, April-October, 1967; Tokyo, Osaka, Japan, March 15-September 13, 1970.
Richard Landon, Eclectic Art at Dartmouth's Hood Museum, Plattsburgh, New York: Press-Republican, February 12, 1995, p. B 10.
Shelley Mehlman Dinohfer, The Art of Baseball: The Great American Game in Painting, Sculpture, and Folk Art, New York: Harmony Books, 1990, p. 131.
James Mote, Baseballiana: The Encyclopedia of Baseball In American Culture, New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1989.
Jacquelynn Baas, "a few curious Elephants Bones" to Picasso, Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College, 1985, p. 37-43, ill. p. 39.
Treasures of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New York: Hudson Hill Press, 1985, p. 116, no. 104.
Frederick Fried, Artists in Wood, New York: Clarkson N. Potter Inc., 1970, p. 213, no. 192.
Ralph Sessions, The Shipcarvers' Art: Figureheads and Cigar-Store Indians in Nineteenth-Century America, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2005, pp. 179-189, ill. p. 179.
Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 116, no. 89.
Acquired in Bridgeport, Connecticut by Edith Gregor Halpert (1900-1970) of Downtown Gallery, New York, New York, July 10, 1931; Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), New York; given to present collection, 1935.