It may seem a bit odd that a major art gallery would bother to put together an ambitious exhibition of the Art of Golf, but the High Museum in Atlanta has done just this and, as you can read in the attached article by Howard Pousner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it will be on display from February 4th to June 3rd before going on tour to four other venues around the country.
The show includes 90 paintings, drawings, photos, and sculptures from a diverse group of artists including Rembrandt, Rockwell, and Warhol. As the museum describes it, “The Art of Golf explores how European and American artists have depicted the royal and ancient game for more than four centuries……. it brings together extraordinary, rare, and even whimsical works of art to celebrate what (Bobby) Jones called ‘a game of considerable passion’.”
The centerpiece of the exhibit is this famous oil painting called “The Golfers” that depicts a crowd watching four members play a match at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in (1847). This captures the rapture with the Scottish people embrace the game in what most of us consider the home of golf.
The exhibit, being in Atlanta, pays tribute to the great champion Bobby Jones who grew there and created one of golf’s great treasures, The Masters, played every year in Augusta, Georgia. This portrait of Jones in 1926 was commissioned by a number of prominent Atlanta businessmen to commemorate his double win of the U.S. and British Opens.
On the whimsical side the exhibition includes cartoons from Charles Schultz and The New Yorker as well as this Andy Warhol depiction of Jack Nicklaus in his prime.
Clearly this is not an exhibition that art lovers are going to flock to but I suspect that this may be that rare occasion where the male in the household suggests to his wife a visit to the High Museum on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
It is worth a couple of minutes to watch the High Museum’s promo video on the Art of Golf exhibit from their website. It features Jack Nicklaus talking about his special relationship with Bobby Jones and The Masters. Pay special attention to the small sculpture in the foreground of Jack’s part of the video-it is an iconic golf image captured in bronze.