The Story Behind the Story of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s “Pete Rose” Painting


Warhol Baseball

With All-Star Game preparations gearing up the folks at the Cincinnati Art Museum figured they too, could get in on the festivities. After all, the museum is home to a major baseball artwork that it commissioned: Andy Warhol’s “Pete Rose,” a painting that turns 30 years old this summer.

Back in 1985, Pete Rose didn’t know anything about Andy Warhol and Warhol didn’t know anything about Pete. The story behind that painting is one of strange bedfellows, a quirky tale of how Warhol, with his New York pop art sensibilities, came to celebrate the Hit King with the help of a leading Cincinnati art gallery owner.

A special art museum exhibit, “Up at Bat: Warhol and Baseball” (April 11-Aug. 2), will feature Warhol’s painting along with the only other two works the famed pop artist did on baseball players: “Baseball,” using Roger Maris in a 1962 tribute to the sport, and a portrait of Tom Seaver, actually pictured in a Reds uniform, done in 1977 just after he was traded to Cincinnati from the New York Mets.

“It will be the first time that Warhol’s three baseball works have been brought together,” said Kristin Spangenberg, curator of prints at the Cincinnati Art Museum. “They show what Warhol did best, in this case, appropriating baseball images in his capture of pop culture.”

The story begins on Opening Day 1985, when “the chase” was on.


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I Love Warhol

I Love Warhol