Sporting art


A general term for paintings and sculpture, usually in realist style, depicting people in outdoor recreational activity involving hunting and fishing, which is also known as ???field and stream???. Also included are equestrian activities such as racing and field hunting with dogs and horses as well as yachting. Other common subjects are wild animal hunting, fly fishing, shooting waterfowl and shorebirds, waterfowl decoys, foxhunting, and even still life of hunting objects. The term has expanded from its origins, which are tied to gentility and the leisure activities of 18th-Century British noblemen. While enjoying their sport as 'country gentlemen, they wanted to commemorate their favorite horses, dogs or other sporting scenes, and would ask the top artists of the day to depict these subjects. A scholar and collector of Sporting Art is Robert B. Mayo, whose essay, ???American: The Sporting View???, was published in 1985 by the Longwood Fine Arts Center in Farmville, Virginia. In this essay, he traces Sporting Art in America back to 1607 in Jamestown Colony when Captain John Smith made the comment that ???birds blocked out the sun on their Southern migration.??? At first hunting was a necessity for survival, but by the mid-18th Century, some Americans of comfortable circumstances were treating it as sport. By the mid-19th Century, hunting and fishing were common activities of genteel men. Gradually Sporting Art has worked its way into a respected part of American Art, but its status remains secondary because of its close association with illustration in popular magazines such as ???Field and Stream??? and the purchase by the ???masses??? of widely published lithography prints of Currier & Ives and by Ducks Unlimited, a conservation organization of the late 20th Century. American artists known for Sporting Art include Robert Abbett, Bob White, Frank Benson, Edmund Osthaus, Ogden Pleissner, William Tylee Ranney, Aiden Ripley, and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait. Sources: ???Gray???s Sporting Journal???, Christie???s Auction House-Sporting Art Auction; Stephen O???Brien Jr. Fine Arts; Cross Gate Gallery; database. (LPD)