From the seventeenth-century landscapes of Hendrick Avercamp to Andy Warhol’s portrait of Jack Nicklaus, artists have approached golf from a diverse range of perspectives. In Scotland—the birthplace of the modern game—Charles Lees presented his masterpiece The Golfers in a heroic scale usually reserved for history painting, while in the United States, impressionistic landscapes by Childe Hassam and James McNeill Whistler underscored the relationship between golf, modern ideas about recreation, and genteel manners. Photographer Harold Edgerton dissected the game from a methodical, technological perspective, paralleling the revolution in equipment design and innovations in golf instruction, and Norman Rockwell’s illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post poked gentle fun at the foibles experienced by a new generation of middle-class golfers. Finally, native Atlantan Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, Jr., was one of the game’s most beloved players and deserves credit for popularizing the game on both sides of the Atlantic. Jones was a favored subject for artists throughout most of the twentieth century, having served as a bridge between the United States and Scotland—an ambassador, of sorts, beloved by both countries for his dedication, integrity, and love for the game.
The Art of Golf brings together extraordinary, rare, and even whimsical works of art to celebrate what Jones called “a game of considerable passion.”