Russell: Perfectionist Graig Kreindler paints baseball’s greats

From Anna Russell at the Wall Street Journal on May 22, 2015, on SABR member Graig Kreindler:

Graig Kreindler has spent the past four months searching for the exact color of the lettering on an obscure 19th-century baseball jersey from Detroit. So his portrait of Charlie Bennett—catcher for the long-defunct Detroit Wolverines—sits unfinished on the floor of his Brooklyn studio, stalled indefinitely. “I need to get it right,” he said of the color. “That’s the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.”

In 10 years, Mr. Kreindler has become one of the top-selling sports artists in the country. A recent panoramic picture of Lou Gehrig at his famous Fourth of July farewell ceremony in 1939—during which he proclaimed himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth”—sold last year for about $55,000. Another picture, of Mickey Mantle in his rookie year, is priced at just under $80,000.

But the pieces don’t come easily. The Brooklyn-based artist, a self-described “neurotic,” will spend months researching obscure historical details in newspaper archives, old photographs and home videos for his lushly-colored large-scale baseball paintings. Questions about the condition of grass on a specific field, or the weather during a particular game, will delay the completion of a painting for weeks, sometimes months.

“He drives me insane,” said the artist’s agent, Dean Lombardo, who manages the 35-year-old Mr. Kreindler’s yearlong waiting list. “Here’s a guy who will drive himself crazy over a little mark in a banner in the outfield. And if it’s not the right font, if it’s not the right color, the painting will not be finished until it is.”

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Originally published: May 26, 2015. Last Updated: May 26, 2015.