They’ve Got Game: The Art of Achievement

Raphael Nadal and Novak Djokovic challenged each other in an epic Australian Open men’s tennis final this past weekend. They completed the match in a historic 5 hours and 53 minutes, almost 6 hours! Their dedication, brilliance, and spirit for the art of this demanding sport inspired me to look for works of art in the collection that celebrate challenge, achievement, and persevering through adversity. I’ve selected a few of my favorites from the many wonderful works of art in the collection. I challenge you and your family to discover works of art that inspire you!

A Tribute

As a tribute to the art of tennis, my first choice is the painting Mixed Doubles by George L. K. Morris as it shows elements of tennis in its abstraction of the sport.

Mixed Doubles, George L. K. Morris, 1948, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley and Alconda-Owsley Foundations

What do you recognize in the painting that reminds you of tennis? What things about your favorite sport would you include in your own painting?


Sporting Cup, a work of art designed by Charles Robert Ashbee, was created as an award to honor achievement.  Ashbee was the founder of The Guild and School of Handicraft which trained unskilled boys and men in traditional Arts and Crafts skills and hired them as craftsmen. Ashbee was a proponent of restoring humanity in art and felt that feats of achievement should be rewarded with thoughtful design and workmanship.

Sporting cup, 1899, designed by Charles Robert Ashbee, made by Arthur Cameron & John Kirsten Baily; Dallas Museum of Art, Ivor Braka Fund and gift of Ivor Braka

Does this look like a trophy you would receive today? What would your design for a trophy include?


To celebrate the art of persevering through physical adversity, I’m veering a bit from the theme of sports to choose the artist Henri Matisse and his work of art, one of my favorites, the paper cutout maquette, Ivy in Flower. During Matisse’s latter years, he was physically challenged by severe illness, reduced eyesight and was restricted to bed and a wheelchair. Yet he met these challenges with the help of others, his own renewed creativity, and a lifelong enjoyment for making art. He had lost his ability to paint, and found a new medium: vibrant colorful paper cutouts. These years are said to be his most creative and prolific.

Ivy in Flower, Henri Matisse, 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

For more information on Matisse’s Ivy in Flower, see the We ART Family! The DMA Family Blog for June 22, 2011, and the Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog for November 1, 2011.

Celebrating Young Masters

Ready, set, go! Visit the DMA to experience these works of art and discover more! While you’re here, be sure to view and celebrate the achievements of local high school artists during the Young Masters exhibition on display now through April 8.

Be inspired to create your own works of art and express your own achievements!

Posted by: Mary


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Filed under In the galleries, Just for Fun

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