Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States: As part of its on-going commitment to celebrating golf’s rich history and elevating excellence in the game in all forms, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has produced The Art of the Golf Course, an exhibition that examines golf through art, challenging viewers to expand their perspective on the game beyond a linear journey from tee to green.
The exhibition, which will be on display at the USGA Golf Museum through August 2020, uses a selection of the Museum’s exceptional fine art collection to showcase diverse artistic interpretations of the golf course.
Although golf course architecture is most often discussed through the lens of designing a playing field, viewers can identify in any golf course the formal elements of line, shape, form, tone, texture, pattern, colour and composition found in all works of art.
“Visitors to this exhibition will draw parallels between the choices made by artists and those of golf course architects, whether to create playing interest and challenge, or visual interest and beauty, enhancing their appreciation and understanding of the golf course as a work of art,” said Hilary Cronheim, Director of the USGA Golf Museum.
Curated by Rand Jerris, the USGA’s Senior Managing Director of Public Services and former Director of the Museum, the exhibition showcases a variety of innovative perspectives through paintings, prints, drawings, photography and sculpture.
The exhibition features pieces by those who identify purely as artists, such as the panoramic images by photographer John Yang, bronze sculptures of green complexes by Henry Whiting II, and the energetic drawings of illustrator Franklin Booth, as well as artwork by golf course architects, including a rare watercolour by AW Tillinghast and a selection of controversial and fantastical drawings by Desmond Muirhead.
Many of the exhibition’s Muirhead sketches, which represent the intersection of architecture, culture and mythology with golf course design, are on public display for the first time, having been donated to the USGA Golf Museum in 2014.
The Art of the Golf Course displays a fraction of the USGA Golf Museum’s world-class collection of fine art, which consists of approximately 1,000 pieces thoughtfully amassed since 1939. The Museum’s fine art collection started with an oil painting of John Reid, ‘The Father of American Golf’, created by an unknown American artist around 1898.
The fine art collection includes pieces by renowned painters Allan Stewart, Charles Hopkinson, Sir John Lavery, Thomas E. Stephens, Norman Rockwell and Will Barnet, as well as President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Works by Edwin Everett Codman, Ed Dwight, David Jones and Eleanor Mellon are part of the Museum’s collection of sculpture.
The Museum’s vast photo collection contains images spanning over 150 years as well as contemporary examples of fine art photographs, including portraits by George Pietzcker and John Yang’s panoramic images, which are featured in the current exhibition.
The Museum’s collection of prints and drawings contains some of the best-known artists and illustrators in the history of art, including Rembrandt van Rijn, Edward Penfield, Harrison Fisher, Charles Dana Gibson, Harry Rountree, AB Frost, James Montgomery Flagg and Charles Schulz. The collection also includes artists celebrated for their contributions to the art of golf, such as Anthony Ravielli, Arthur Weaver, Desmond Muirhead, LeRoy Neiman and AW Tillinghast.
The exhibit is made possible through donations of artwork from private collectors as well as USGA supporters who have a passion for preserving golf’s heritage through philanthropic giving.
The USGA Golf Museum is the oldest sports museum in the nation and contains the world’s largest and most significant collection of golf history. Since 1936, the USGA Golf Museum has collected and protected the treasures of the game, connecting golfers, sports fans and scholars with remarkable artifacts, documents, stories and images that chronicle the rich history of golf.