Our Collection

Southerners at Play

The paintings in this gallery illustrate some of the ways in which Southerners have traditionally spent their leisure time. Augusta Oelschig’s Play Ball, and John Martin Tracy’s A Field Trial—On the Point show them as active participants. Other paintings—most notably, Robert Grafton and Louis Griffith’s depiction of a 1917 horse race in New Orleans—portray popular spectator sports. These paintings are about more than recreation, however. They also illustrate economic status and the emergence of the middle class, the nature of American culture and the way it travels, and the role that the land plays. While it is clear that quail hunting, for example, is not available to everyone in the same way that shooting marbles is, it is also clear that there are equalizing pastimes, such as a pleasant day spent at the beach.