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Morris Kantor's Baseball at Night
A Russian immigrant's homage to small-town America

View a multimedia slideshow about the painting

Baseball at Night by Morris Kantor
Baseball at Night by Morris Kantor
Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum
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• Detail of the field lights
• Detail of the radio station
Baseball at night

July 14, 2001 -- Morris Kantor painted "Baseball at Night" in 1934. The painting, in oil on linen, is a luminous illustration of the American pastime in one of its historic moments: the beginning of night games.

Susan Stamberg talks to Elizabeth Broun, director of the Smithsonian Art Museum, about the painting.

Born in Minsk, Russia in 1896, Kantor moved to the United States at 15. He attended art school in New York and painted scenes of daily life well into the 1970s.

He painted "Baseball at Night" from sketches he made while attending one of the earliest lighted small-town games, near his home in West Nyack, N.Y. The field could have been any field, the players any hometown team. But with Morris Kantor watching, the night became a masterpiece.

"Baseball at Night" is part of Scenes of American Life: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum -- a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian American Art Museum -- on view now at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. In the fall, the exhibit will be on display at the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, NY.

Visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum online at