Gkreindler

A strange question...

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Hey all,

 

I'm totally new to the forums, and was hoping that I might be able to get a little help with a strange question.

 

By day (and let's face it, by night), I'm a painter who focuses on historical baseball subject matter. Much like car enthusiasts, the folks who study the game have a love stretches back to its earliest days, and whenever its heroes or ballparks are depicted, they are scrutinized for their historical accuracy. As a result, I pride myself on being as meticulous as I can be with such details.

 

Primarily, I work on commission, and a while back was hired to make a painting from the enclosed photograph. It depicts the 1923-24 Leopardos de Santa Clara at their home field, Boulanger Park in Cuba. The photograph dates from the late fall of 1923. As you may notice, behind the players towards the left, there is an automobile. The only issue is, as I'm getting close to the end, I've made sure that I'm getting everything right with the players and ballpark (especially as it all relates to color and the such), but it's with that automobile that I'm not sure where to turn.

 

I know it's obscured, but is there anyway that you fine folks might be able to let me know what kind of car it is? Also, perhaps, what colors the make would/could have come in? Again, this dates from late 1923 in Cuba, and I know VERY little about cars, especially as they pertain to Cuba in 1923.

 

Anywho, ANY help or ideas would be GREATLY appreciated. Feel free to post here or reach out to me via email, at gkreindler@gmail.com.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

 

Graig

LeopardosPhoto.jpg

LeopardosPhoto2.jpg

Leopardos2.JPG

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Great job on the photo.

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Wow, agree, great painting.  My first thought was Packard, also.  Most such cars would be a darker color, somewhat muted.  Dark blue, black, and so forth.  There were bright colors available, such as red, but the car on the photo appears dark.

 

I think your color on the body in your painting looks appropriate.  I'd bet the top material was more tan than white, though.

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Thank you so much for all of your kind words, everybody! And I very much appreciate your suggestions.

 

Is it safe to say that there might have not been any difference between any of the cars (or Packards, in this case) that would have been in Cuba during that period? In other words, it's not impossible that some of the models would have been older ones, what with the nature of island travel in those days? I have no idea, but am just throwing out some random thoughts.

 

Either way, I'll see if I can make the roof a bit more on the tan side. The value of whatever color it is is pretty light - could a light beige be a possibility?

 

Thanks again, everybody.

 

Graig

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Can you paint car pictures from photographs too?  May be something others on the Forum might be interested in having done. 

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Hi Graig ! Hey : as an aging (BROOKLYN Dodgers still rolls off my tongue easier than the alternative), "Old Latin America Hand", perhaps I can shed a little light on your question regarding differentiation of automotive makes down South in pre-depression days. 

 

A massive concentration of wealth in the hands of a VERY few, permitted the fortunate to have absolutely ANYTHING they and their highly pampered offspring wanted. As we fans of the elegant expensive pre-war cars know, some of the best of the best arrived to our shores as periodic crisis followed or provoked political upheaval way down yonder. Whatever once was the latest and greatest, from time to time had to be sacrificed as illiquidity imposed a number of unwelcome, but necessary  forced moves. The relatively small middle class, and the bureaucrat types might, or might not have been able to afford more utilitarian machinery. This would have run a fairly wide spectrum depending on dealer presence, and, of course, the customers financial means. There certainly would not have been a Ford in every garage. Not a chicken in every pot every day, for that matter, either. "Morros y Cristianos", (dark beans and rice - along with the ubiquitous plantains), would have been the staple of the Cuban masses. To them, motorized transport was the realm of "El Patron". Remember, there was a pre-industrial distinction between "caballeros" and "peatones". Horsemen and those who "hoofed it" on their own two.

 

And no, there is nothing strange about your questions. Such inquiries are relatively frequent around here. I hope I have understood this aspect of your research, and that my answer has been appropriate, and has given some perspective. While the days of bargain Duesenbergs out of Argentina, and quick sales of Bugattis out of Chile are as gone as New York Central steam locomotives, other incredible deals do pop up with some regularity out of Argentina. Every 12-18 years or so, the opportunities present themselves down there. From vast "Estancias" to high quality dental work, you can have a rewarding Argentine interlude.

                                                Salud !    -   Sr. Dn. Carlos, El Cadillaquero 

Edited by C Carl
Add the word "once", and a comma, and a bit more (see edit history)
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1922 - 1926 Packard (1st thru 3rd series six cylinder) had the split windshield. Can't be earlier, those windshields had a frame around the two glass portions. 1927 (4th series) had one piece windshield.

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Holy balls, I love this forum. Thanks so much for all of the great answers, everybody. Seriously.

 

Martin, I do paint things directly from photographs - mostly from single images, but sometimes I have to combine many sources to make one original image. For the most part I stick to baseball.

 

C Carl, your information is SO helpful and appreciated. It's always super important for me to know as much context about what I'm painting in order to somehow imbue it into the picture (even if it's something intangible). Unfortunately, I'm not able to get my hands on any of the Latin American newspapers from that era that point light in any specific direction as to why the car is there, but it just seemed odd to see it on the field. In the states, and certainly during that time period, it was common for ballplayers to receive many gifts during the days in which they were given 'a day.' A lot of times those gifts could consist of hunting and fishing equipment, and later, televisions and entertainment units. Certainly, being given cars were also part of that tradition. So, I wonder if this photograph was taken on a day in which one of these guys was being honored by the ballclub and/or fans. Abel Linares owned the team, as well as the Almendares and Habana, so I'd imagine a lot of the coin that purchased the car came from him. I honestly can't think of any other reason for it to be there, as it was a bit past the days in which the fields were shared by posts to park your horses and carriages. Either way, I'd love to do some more digging about it if I can. With help, I've been able to narrow down the actual date of the photograph being taken to a span of a week or two.

 

Anywho, regardless, there's still much to discover. For what it's worth, this ballclub was considered one of the best ever in Cuban League history. The squad boasted people like Oscar Charleston and José Méndez (both Baseball HoFers in the states), as well as Alejandro Oms (in the Cuban Baseball HoF), and also stars Dobie Moore, Ghost Marcelle, and Frank Duncan. For us baseball nerds, it's exciting stuff. :)

 

Thanks again, guys. If anyone can add anything, I'd love to hear it!

 

Graig

Edited by Gkreindler (see edit history)
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If it were Abel Linares' car, it could have been there? He might have asked for and framed the photo.

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So the next obvious question is...... what sort of car(s) did he own? Can one find out from other sources?

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Wow, great work on the painting. At first I thought it was a colored reprint of the photo! Amazing what bringing color to an old picture will do! 

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C Carl your comments on the concentration of wealth in Cuba could equally have applied to many rural areas of the US at the time particularly in the south. Cuba had been under the control or influence of the US for a generation and in many ways resembled the US. H L Mencken covered a change of government there in 1917 and remarked many years later that he had no trouble getting around to gather news because there were plenty of Fords in Cuba even then. He also remembered that nobody got drunk and the cops didn't beat anybody up, which he thought worthy of remark. Possibly in contrast to a typical American election of the time.

 

But I digress. The point is as far as cars go, and possibly other things, Cuba would have been much like the US. I like the idea that the car belonged to the team owner who drove it onto the field with the photographer and his equipment on board.

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I can't fill in any blanks about how or why the Packard is in the photo, but I can give you a couple of ballpark suggestions on where it came from. 

 

At the time of the photo, the Packard Distributor for Cuba was J. Ulloa y Cia., which ran a dealership in La Habana at 3-5 Prado, beside the Hotel Biscuit. If it's his car, Señor Linares could have bought it there, or it may have come as checked baggage on one the many ships that arrived weekly in the various ports around Cuba. Obviously, all automobiles arrived by ship whether they were part of dealer stock or were brought in by private owners. This ad from a 1926 issue of SOCIAL magazine shows a similar Packard Single Six.

 

27798692_26PackardUlloa1Xx.thumb.jpg.1483aac1b2aa857b335f89acf61d0e62.jpg

 

The "Dance of the Millions," the wild postwar fluctuation in Cuban sugar prices from 1919-20 played havoc on the island's financial structure, but I don't know how it affected baseball or Señor Linares' finances. In 1920, Cuba's income from sugar was $794,000,000, and in 1921 plummeted to $280,000,000. By 1923, sugar income had rebounded to $422,600,000.

 

This small, grainy image from the June, 1921 El Automóvil Americano shows J. Ulloa y Cia. at 3-5 Prado, where they retailed Chandler, Chevrloet, Cleveland and Packard cars, plus Packard and Federal trucks; later, the address changed to 53 Paseo de Marti. The Prado and the Paseo de Marti are one in the same, and this is one rare instance where the street numbers have changed.. Behind it is the Hotel Biscuit. 

 

1452840757_21JunioDealsUlloaPackardL.jpg.f73ade20cd779b8a6484dacca08781c4.jpg

 

There is no doubt that J. Ulloa y Compañia's fortunes rose and fell, too, but I believe (and have yet to prove) that around 1931 they bought the former Hotel Biscuit and renamed it Hotel Packard. Both the dealership and the Hotel Packard remained at their locations till the Revolution though, by 1958, J. Ulloa y Cia. was selling Porsches at the 53 Paseo de Marti store.  Who knows, perhaps Señor Linares' Packard arrived in the hold of one of the United Fruit Company's ships, as depicted in this postcard...

 

302042132_PackardPostcard1X.jpg.08684f834ce57867f8ccae2b2644b447.jpg

911290897_2HotelPackardCubaism1.jpg.34da9472bb3267c92929759760417006.jpg

Image from Cubaism. com

 

The Iberostar Grand Hotel Packard Havana just opened after dramatic renovations and additions, having laid empty in ruins for at least 20 years. I was there in November and had drinks in the 6th floor bar/restaurant, taking in the sweeping views out over the infinity pool of La Punta Fuerza and El Castillo del Morro. which I strongly suggest you do if you are ever in La Habana.

 

702311606_HotelPackard1XT.thumb.jpg.42541b9e5e5a46eb3b4904470de95a22.jpg

 

 

Anyway, continued success and, 

¡Feliz año nuevo!

 

TG

 

Edited by TG57Roadmaster (see edit history)
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Gkreindler, I tried to contact you, but your contact info won't let me for some reason, something about being your "visitor block disabled". Please contact me at woodiewagon46@gmail.com. about a 1879 team picture I have.

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I remember reading that Chandler Automobiles were involved with Baseball, awarding players with cars who won "barnstorming tournaments" . There was no TV and radio broadcasts and this was good advertising at the time, the teams and players were obligated to pose with photos of the vehicles.I am far from knowledgeable on this era of automobile, but when I search for photos of a 1922 Chandler there were, some similarities especially the split windshield.

 

I don't think Happy Chandler was connected to the auto manufacturer, who was a major league player before his political career and later Baseball Commissioner  

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Amazing, guys. Thank you so much for all of this information. It really helps color this thing a lot more for me. Like, seriously.

 

To be honest, I have no idea whether I could find out whether Linares had one of these cars, though I imagine it's not out of the realm of possibility, especially considering his status as a baseball magnate on the island. But yeah, there aren't any books about the man that I know of, just mentions of him in some books about baseball in Cuba (and even those are hard to come by).

 

Now, on the notion of being even more off-topic and obscure, might any of you have any knowledge about the history of architecture in Cuba? I'm also looking to make a guess about the color of the building in the background, but ya know, wanted to make sure it was an educated guess.

 

Anywho, again, thank you ALL for your kind words and help in all of this.

 

Graig

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18 minutes ago, Gkreindler said:

Now, on the notion of being even more off-topic and obscure, might any of you have any knowledge about the history of architecture in Cuba? I'm also looking to make a guess about the color of the building in the background, but ya know, wanted to make sure it was an educated guess.

 

It looks like corrugated or flat tin panels framed in wood, with a basket-weave wood fencing above, nothing special.

 

TG

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He's talking about the building behind the fence.

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