Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Oklahoma City Museum of Art exhibition explores the history of Golf through art

Oklahoma City Museum of Art explores the history of Golf through art, in an exhibition on view from July 19–October 7, 2012.

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 game’s 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.

Charles Lees (Scottish, 1800-1880). The Golfers, 1847. Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 84 1/4 in. Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, 2002. Photo: A. Reeve

The centerpiece of the exhibition is known as the greatest golfing painting in the world: Charles Lees’s 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 hasnever 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 golfiana—an antique ball, clubs, and clothing—to 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 Scotland’s 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 Warhol’s Athlete Series).

Fittingly, the exhibition also will feature a special section on legendary American hero and Atlanta native Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, Jr. (1902–71), 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.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue featuring essays by Dr. Tico Seifert, senior curator of Northern European Art, National Gallery of Scotland; Jordan Mearns, research assistant, National Galleries of Scotland; Dr. Catherine Lewis, consulting curator for The Art of Golf; Dr. Richard A. Lewis, curator of Visual Arts, Louisiana State Museum; and Rand Jerris, senior managing director of Public Services, United States Golf Association.

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City’s Arts District, at 415 Couch Drive. Visit the Museum online at for admission pricing and hours of operation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *