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Sports, Football, College Pennant Compass, Vintage Painting, mid 20th Century


College Pennant Sports Compass
American: c. 1930-46
Oil on canvas
27 inches diameter, painting
27 x 27 inches, framed

Decorative circular oil painting of college and university pennants. The triangular banners, in a variety of colors, are arranged in a design resembling a compass rose. In the center is an illustration — painted en grisaille and enclosed in a concentric circle — of a football centering a crossed baseball bat and ski pole. The colorful pennants are arrayed against a light blue background crossed by three yellow lines and surrounded by a circular blue and yellow border. The schools represented by pennants are, clockwise from top: Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Leland Stanford, Notre Dame, Purdue, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Missouri, California, Chicago U., Wisconsin, Washington and Carnegie.

Product Description Continues Below.


Although the teams are from diverse conferences, the emphasis is on Midwestern teams. As of 1930, seven of these schools were members of the Big 10 Conference (Chicago, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Ohio State), three were in the Big 6 (Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri), three were in the Eastern Independent Conference (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Carnegie), and two were in the Pacific Coast Conference (Stanford and Washington). However, it’s unclear if “Washington” refers to the University of Washington or to Washington University of St. Louis, which also fielded varsity teams.

It can be posited that this painting once decorated a sports venue, student center or fraternity house, and thus might have been the work of a college student. Stylistically it dates from the 1930s to 1940s. Indeed, the University of Chicago — represented in the painting — dropped its football program in 1939, and in 1946, as part of a new direction to deemphasize athletics, withdrew from the Big Ten Conference. This is a further indication that the painting likely dates to before 1946.

Condition:  Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Not framed.

Additional information


20th Century