DiMola scores 1940s painting by famous sports artist Lon Keller
I’m a trash man, an antique lover, and now you can call me an art collector.
I found an old painting from renowned artist Henry Alonzo Keller, known as Lon Keller, the very man who created the top-hat logo for the Yankees (see below image) and other Yankees art in 1947. Keller was an artist who specialized in sports and designed the program covers for the NFL, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Army, the Navy and more.
Keller was born on Aug. 2, 1907, in Lititz, Pa. He attended Syracuse University and began his career as a magazine illustrator. His first job illustrating a program was in 1932, when he designed the program for the Thanksgiving Day game between Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, one of the oldest rivalries in college football.
Six years later, Keller moved to New York, became the chief illustrator for Spencer Marketing, and the rest was history. You see, Spencer Marketing was the company that designed the programs covers for the majority of the high schools and colleges across the nation.
Keller eventually went on to handle the World Series programs and designed some of the most famous sports logos in existence, including that of the New York Yankees.
Based on some of Keller’s other work I’ve seen online, I’d guess that the painting of this basketball player looks to be anywhere from 1948 to 1951. I also just so happened to already have one of his Yankees programs from 1949.
It’s amazing how one trash treasure takes me into another world I never before knew about. My job isn’t just about collecting garbage or cleaning up people’s homes — I get to learn about history one piece of trash at a time.
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