OKLAHOMA CITY, OK.-
This summer, perfecting your swing on the golf course can be followed by a cool visit to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
s galleries to explore the history of the sport through art. See the royal and ancient game as depicted by landscape and portrait artists, photographers, and pop artists through the ages. Organized by the High Museum of Art and the National Galleries of Scotland, The Art of Golf is the first-ever exhibition devoted to the game by a major American art museum. Comprising approximately 90 works from artists as diverse as Rembrandt, Charles Lees, Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol, The Art of Golf will examine the games origins, its foundation in Scotland, and its growth in America in the twentieth century. The exhibition also will include an introductory video that features golf legends Sir Michael Bonallack and Jack Nicklaus.
The Art of Golf will be on view at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art from July 19October 7, 2012. Following, the exhibition will travel to The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, from November 3, 2012 to February 17, 2013, with additional U.S. venues yet to be announced.
"While golf is a very popular sport, a lot of people don't realize the depth and richness of its history," said Alison Amick, OKCMOA curator for collections. "This visually stimulating exhibition reveals that history through beautiful works of art and will be a wonderful draw to golf enthusiasts, history buffs, and those interested in seeing the connection between art and the sport."
The exhibition will begin with a display devoted to the depiction of kolf, a cousin of the modern game, as depicted in early Dutch landscape and genre paintings of the seventeenth century. This section will include Rembrandts famous etching The Ringball Player (1654) and winter landscapes by Hendrick and Barent Avercamp, which depict kolf being played on the frozen canals of Holland. Following in the display will be Scottish artworks of the eighteenth century, including the earliest known depiction of golf being played in Scotland (ca. 1740). Also included will be a series of iconic, Scottish golfing portraits from the National Galleries of Scotland, such as a stunning full-length portrait of the tartan-clad Sir James and Sir Alexander MacDonald (ca. 1749) by William Mosman and an incisive portrayal of William Inglis, captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (1787), by Scottish painter David Allan. Among many objects lent from the collection of the world-renowned Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, Scotland, is the charming portrait of Old Tom Morris by Sir George Reid. Morris was one of the great early players, winning four British Opens in the 1860s and also earning fame as a clubmaker and course designer.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is known as the greatest golfing painting in the world: Charles Leess The Golfers, which portrays in detail a match played on the Old Course at St Andrews in 1847. Jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, this masterpiece has never before traveled to the United States, though reproductions of it hang in golf clubhouses around the world. Displayed alongside the painting will be several preparatory sketches, all portraits of individuals who can be identified in the painting, and an early photograph by Hill and Adamson to which Lees referred as he composed his painting. Also included in this section will be golfianaan antique ball, clubs, and clothingto illustrate the very different equipment used in the earliest days of the sport.
Moving into the early twentieth century, the exhibition will present a series of elegant golfing scenes by Sir John Lavery, which capture the chic glamour and appeal of the game in the Roaring Twenties. This section will also feature art deco railway posters advertising Scotlands premier courses to an expanding audience in Britain and a series of photographs by Harold Edgerton, developer of strobe photography, that features the great Bobby Jones, Jr., hitting a golf ball. Other artists featured in this section include Childe Hassam, James McNeill Whistler, Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol (an iconic screenprint of golfing superstar Jack Nicklaus, 1977, part of Warhols Athlete Series).
Fittingly, the exhibition also will feature a special section on legendary American hero and Atlanta native Robert Tyre Bobby Jones, Jr. (190271), who popularized golf on the international stage. The exhibition will include portraits of Jones and notable photographs that illustrate his importance to the game and the bond he created between the United States and Scotland, where he came to love and admire the Old Course at St Andrews.
The Art of Golf will close with a series of aerial photographs by Patricia and Angus Macdonald, newly commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland, which capture the beauty of iconic Scottish golf courses and explore the effects that human activity has had on the land.