American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Winslow Homer, American, 1836–1910

A Game of Croquet

1866

Oil on canvas

60.3 x 87.9 cm (23 3/4 x 34 5/ 8in.), framed: 80.3 x 108.3 x 10.8 cm (31 5/8 x 42 5/8 x 4 1/4 in.)
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
1961.18.25

During the 1860s, Winslow Homer undertook the earliest sustained treatment of croquet to appear in fine art. The game was a recent English import. Immediately popular, it provided women with a rare socially acceptable opportunity to compete on equal footing with men in an outdoor sport. The object of the game is to hit one's ball, using a mallet, through a succession of wickets, while trying to deter one's opponents from doing the same by "croqueting" their balls, launching them farther afield. The playfully vindictive nature of the game imbued the sport with a flirtatious ingredient that further enhanced its popularity.

Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 160, 184, 237, 239, 316, 330, fig. 176.

Nicholas Fox Weber, The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud (New York: Aldred A. Knopf, 2007), ill.

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 318, 324, no. 202, ill.

Kristina Wilson, The Modern Eye: Stieglitz, MoMA, and the Art of the Exhibition, 1925 -1934 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), pp 122, no. 55, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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