McLaughlin, left, is pictured with Academy Art Committee chair Nancy Raia and Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich.
Fairhope, Ala., resident L.D. McLaughlin Jr. recently visited the American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) on the campus of the United States Sports Academy and donated a “Perfect 10” set of 10 serigraphs, each signed and numbered #10 in a series, by 2011 Academy Sport Artist of the Year painter Rick Rush.
The serigraphs depict various noteworthy moments in the history of football at the University of Alabama. Rush, known as “America’s Sport Artist,” has gained a worldwide following for his colorful paintings that depict a variety of sports.
“I took a tour of ASAMA here recently and I was quite impressed with the wide array of art and the facility here,” McLaughlin said. “I have enjoyed this art at my home, and I thought it was time to let someone else enjoy it. These serigraphs are just so real, so lifelike. They have a great depth to them.”
“While ASAMA has been the beneficiary of donations to the collection from literally all corners of the globe, it is particularly meaningful to us that this gift comes from a resident in the local community,” Academy President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich said. “While works by Rick Rush are already well represented in the ASAMA holdings, this particular gift is singularly unique given that they are all number 10 in the run of serigraphs and share a common theme; that of Alabama football. These factors truly serve to make this a distinctive addition to the collection.”
Rush has depicted high-profile sports figures such as Joe Namath, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Muhammad Ali, Albert Pujols, Nolan Ryan, Bo Jackson and countless others. His works portray subjects of historic significance and include the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, and NCAA National Championships.
Numerous pieces of his art grace the walls at ASAMA including “Finishing Strong,” a NASCAR-themed original painting which was also donated to the museum and depicts legendary drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The artist also recently presented to ASAMA an original work, “Right on Course,” which depicts famed golfer Bubba Watson winning his historic second Masters championship.
Rush, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is the Academy’s 2011 Sport Artist of the Year in painting. The award is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition.
“The Academy and its museum are an artistic marvel for me,” Rush said. “The Academy has made sports art not just an aside but a primary genre of high art and fine art. The museum and what the Academy has done culturally around the world is marvelous, touching people and building an awareness of the world of fine art in sports.
“The Academy is impacting people and countries and cultures through the universal language of sport and art,” Rush said. “What a great work, coming together to develop cultural stability and integration around the world. It is a great platform.”
Not only has Rush’s art been featured and collected around the world, the painter has also played a significant role in the world of sports art on the legal front, winning important gains for artists. In 2003, Rush won a court battle for his right to draw, paint, and sell the images of star athletes when Tiger Woods sued for royalties on a painting Rush made of the golfer following the 1997 Masters. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Rush’s favor, finding paintings to be a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment.
The Academy has prints of Rush’s works and other art available from the Academy bookstore at http://bookstore.ussa.edu/.