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MFA tees of season with The Art of Golf
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Photo courtesy of THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
“The Golfers” (1847), by Charles Lees (Scottish, 1800-1880), oil on canvas, from the Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, is part of the Art of Golf exhibition running Nov. 3 through Feb. 17 at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG – The Museum of Fine Arts begins an unforgettable weekend Thursday, Nov. 1, with events planned through Sunday, Nov. 4, and the opening of The Art of Golf on Saturday, Nov. 3.

On Thursday, MFA admission is $10 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Emmy-winning journalist Cathy Unruh starts the weekend early on Thursday, Nov. 1, with a book-signing from 6 to 8 p.m. in the elegant Marly Room. Unruh’s first novel, Lucy Miracle, follows the adventures of Lucy, a feral cat who ends up in the lap of luxury, very much like the feline she actually adopted.

For eight years, Unruh worked for FOX 13 news and is now the host of Up Close with Cathy Unruh on WEDU. She interviews community leaders, artists and members of art organizations, newsmakers, and volunteers on her popular show. Unruh will bring her cat to this book signing, presented by the Museum Store, and a cash bar and snacks will be available.

“Art on Tap” returns by popular demand on Friday, Nov. 2, from 7 to 10 p.m. Visitors can sample more than 20 craft beers, courtesy of Great Bay Distributors. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by the award-winning Marchand’s Bar & Grill at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club. The Highwaters, one of the area’s most popular bands, will perform.

The galleries will be open, so everyone can enjoy the MFA’s world-class collection. An after-party will be held at Marchand’s from 10 p.m. to midnight, with a complimentary dessert for each ticket-holder.

Tickets are $45 each in advance and $55 the day of the event, which sold out last year. Tickets can be purchased at the Museum, 255 Beach Drive N.E. in downtown St. Petersburg, online at, or at the door. For more information, please call 727-896-2667.

Opening Saturday, Nov. 3, The Art of Golf is the first major museum exhibition in America devoted to this popular game, so rich in history and tradition. Organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the National Galleries of Scotland, this show features approximately 90 works by Rembrandt, Childe Hassam, George Bellows, Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol, among others. Some of these works have never before been on public display. They all point to golf’s ability to inspire extraordinary works of art.

Also on Saturday, Family Yoga will be held at 10 a.m. Practicing yoga with your family and children (age 3 and older) creates a special bond. Grandparents are encouraged to participate, as well. Cost is $20 for MFA members and $25 for nonmembers, both up to a family of four. There is a fee of $5 for each additional family member. Please bring a towel or yoga mat. Stay to see The Art of Golf and the collection, which are included in the fees.

Julia Forbes, Managing Curator for The Art of Golf at the High Museum in Atlanta, will introduce the exhibition in a lecture Sunday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. Enjoy the exhibition, have lunch in the MFA Café, and stay for her presentation, which is free with MFA admission.

At the High, Forbes is the Shannon Landing Amos Head of Interpretation and has organized and presented exhibitions in a collaborative setting for more than 12 years. She has also been an educator at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the Washington National Cathedral, and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. She was named the 1998 Eastern Museum Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association.

The MFA at 255 Beach Drive NE. in St. Petersburg has a distinguished collection of art from around the globe and across the centuries. On view are striking works by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne, Rodin, O’Keeffe, and many others. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. The photography collection is one of the largest and most significant in the Southeast.

The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday, and Saturdayl and noon to

5 p.m. on Sunday. On Thursdays, the MFA is open until 8 p.m., with admission reduced to $10 from 5 to 8 p.m. Regular admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, and $10 for students age 7 and older, including college students with current I.D. Children under age 7 and Museum members are admitted free. Groups of 10 or more adults pay only $12 per person and children $4 each with prior reservations.

The MFA Café is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The Museum Store has been named the area’s best by the duPont Registry.

For more information, please call 727-896-2667 or visit For café reservations, please call 727-822-1032.

About the exhibit

The Art of Golf is on view through Feb. 17, 2013.

The centerpiece is Charles Lees’ The Golfers (1847), the world’s greatest painting in this genre. Reproductions of the work hang in golf clubhouses around the world, but this masterpiece has never before traveled to the United States. It depicts a match played on the Old Course at St. Andrews, with a wealth of fashionable observers gathered around the athletes.

Preparatory sketches (portraits of individuals in the painting) and an early photograph by Hill and Adamson, to which Lees referred, will provide context. So will “golfiana”—antique balls, clubs, and clothing—to illustrate the sport’s earliest days.

The Art of Golf takes a chronological approach to the paintings, as the history of the game unfolds. It begins with images of kolf, a cousin of the modern game, in seventeenth-century Dutch landscape and genre paintings. The exhibition even includes winter scenes of kolf being played on Holland’s frozen canals. Rembrandt’s famous etching, The Ringball Player (1654), is also part of this section.
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