fbpx
back bounded-next cafe calendar-large calendar cart close coat-check collapse donate download elevators expand explore filter grid-view hamburger heart hours join link list-view location mail more next nursing-room phone print programs ramp restrooms right-arrow search share shop thumbs-down thumbs-up tickets up toilet heart-filled zoom Skip to Content

Mr. and Mrs. Hank Aaron

Folk and Self-Taught Art

Search and Share Tools

Mr. and Mrs. Hank Aaron

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Elijah Pierce
American, 1892–1984

Date

1974

Medium

Wood and paint

Accession #

2016.42

Dimensions

Please contact the Museum for more information.

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Originally from Baldwyn, Mississippi, Pierce was among the millions of African Americans who left the South during the first half of the twentieth century. He settled in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1920s. Pierce, an ordained minister, turned to wood carving as a way to supplement his ministry. In 1974, after Atlanta Brave star Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run and eclipsed Babe Ruth’s record, Pierce carved the iconic portrait Mr. and Mrs. Hank Aaron, paying tribute to the slugger and his wife, Billye.

As collector, scholar, and advocate Gordon Bailey notes: “Pierce underscored Aaron’s accomplishment, which resounded across the country, particularly within the African American community, by writing ‘715 ha ha’ on the back of the piece.” Ebony magazine featured the Aarons on their July 1974 cover, which Pierce used as a reference for his sculpture. According to Bailey, “Pierce altered the composition of the cover photograph by upraising his subjects’ eyes, thereby acknowledging the Aarons’ sustaining faith.”

Credit

Gift of Gordon W. Bailey in honor of Henry “Hank” and Billye Suber Aaron