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PROPERTY FROM A MIDWESTERN COLLECTION

Frederick Arthur Bridgman
AMERICAN
LAWN TENNIS CLUB
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 482,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
11

PROPERTY FROM A MIDWESTERN COLLECTION

Frederick Arthur Bridgman
AMERICAN
LAWN TENNIS CLUB
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 482,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Art

|
New York

Frederick Arthur Bridgman
1847 - 1928
AMERICAN
LAWN TENNIS CLUB
signed F. A. Bridgman, dated 1891 and inscribed COPYRIGHT (lower left)
oil on canvas
39 1/2 by 70 in.
100.3 by 177.8 cm
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Provenance

Collection of the artist (and sold, American Art Association, New York, Decorative Works, Salon Pictures, Eastern Subjects and Drawings by Frederick A. Bridgman, March 10, 1899, lot 64, as The Tennis Club)
John Offerman (acquired at the above sale)
Theodore Offerman (and sold, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, New York, October 30-31, 1929, lot 84, as Tennis)
Peiken Brothers (acquired at the above sale)
Joan Michelman Ltd., New York (as Tennis at Vechiville)
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, December 3, 1998, lot 73, illustrated

Exhibited

London, Royal Academy, 1892, no. 102
Nashville, Tennessee, Pantheon, Fine Arts Department, Tennessee Centennial Exposition, May-November 1897, no. 45
New York, The Jordon-Volpe Gallery, American Selections 1850-1950, 1992
Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Paris 1890: The Art of Modern Life, February 14-May 18, 2003 (as Tennis at Vechiville)

Literature

“The Royal Academy, Second Notice,” Times, May 13, 1892, p. 3
“The Royal Academy (Second Notice-Figure Pictures),” Athenaeum, no. 3368, May 14, 1892, p. 638
“Art Chronicle,” Portfolio, vol. 23, June 1, 1892, p. xi
Claude Phillips, “The Summer Exhibitions at Home and Abroad, II, The Royal Academy and the New Gallery,” Art Journal, vol. 44, 1892, p. 222
“Bridgeman [sic] Paintings at Auction,” New York Daily Tribune, March 11, 1899, p. 9
Ilene Susan Fort, “Frederick Arthur Bridgman and the American Fascination with the Exotic Near East,” Ph.D. dissertation, The City University of New York, 1990, p. 465

Catalogue Note

Though Frederick Bridgman is best known for his Orientalist depictions of North Africa which were first inspired by his mentor, Jean-Léon Gérôme, he diverged from this subject matter later in his career. In the 1890s, he began to paint landscapes and genre scenes, including the present work, one of a group of tennis themes that Bridgman completed during that decade.

Bridgman was a noted tennis player himself, and his enthusiasm for the sport is embodied in this lively portrayal of a mixed doubles match.  By the early 1880s, England’s fervor for tennis had reached France, and local tennis clubs soon formed in Dinard, Cannes and Le Favre. In 1882, the first courts were constructed in Paris at Le Racing Club de France. Both in club play on courts and on the great lawns of country estates, the game of tennis proved incredibly popular, both for men and women, and helped promote healthy activity. Matches could be organized either as private, family recreation or, as Bridgman’s painting suggests, around larger social gatherings.  In the present work, though the match has begun, the majority of the spectators in the background seem more absorbed in chatting while fellow players rest on the lawn waiting for their turn on the court -- and perhaps to be captured by an artist sketching the activity at the net.

When visiting the artist’s Paris studio on the Boulevard Malesherbes in 1890, a writer for The Illustrated American remarked on the intertwining of Bridgman’s artistic and leisure interests.  Upon entering the room “without much straining of your imagination, [you] believe that you have been whirled away on some magic carpet to a corner of a palace in Cairo or on the Bosphorus… [Yet] there is nothing Egyptian or ancient about Frederick Bridgman, as he sits at a big oak table, sketching.  The [tennis] racket resting in a corner is distinctly modern… Mr. Bridgman does not insist on Orientalism in his sports.  He is an ardent votary of the tennis-court, and a pillar of the club which meets from time to time to try conclusions across the net in the field facing this studio window” (Ishmael, “American Artists on the Seine,” The Illustrated American, vol. IV, no. 33, October 11, 1890, p. 100).  Perhaps one of the matches the artist could observe from the comfort of his own home inspired the present work. Though the exact location of the court depicted is unknown, Bridgman brilliantly captures all the details of a day of competitive fun informed by his devotion to the sport.

19th Century European Art

|
New York