Wimbledon, also known as the Championships, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is also considered to be one of the most prestigious. The tournament takes place at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. Some Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code of all white for all competitors, Royal patronage, and also the absence of advertisements around the court – the focus is totally on the match. Wimbledon is currently in full swing and we are big tennis fans at Paddle8! Who knew that art and tennis could come together so well?
John McEnroe is a former number 1 professional tennis player from the United States. McEnroe won Seven Grand Slam Singles titles, with 3 being at Wimbledon. Aside from being a tennis legend, McEnroe is also best known for being an avid art collector. McEnroe’s art collecting began over twenty years ago when fellow tennis player Vitas Gerulaitis took him around SoHo to visit galleries. McEnroe made his first painting purchase at the Louis K Meisel Gallery on Prince Street, a painting by the Realist Audrey Flack.
When asked by the UK Independent about the connection between art and tennis, McEnroe said “Artists spend a great deal of time by themselves. Tennis players, when they’re playing, are all by themselves. People in the art business have a tendency to one day tell you you’re the greatest artist that ever lived and the next second make you wonder if you’ll ever sell a piece of art again. So I think I have a knowledge of that, because you have a fear when you go on the court: fear of failure. Sometimes it propels you to greatness, and other times you fall on your face.”
With an Andy Warhol portrait of McEnroe and ex-wife Tatum O’Neal, a respectable collection of contemporary works and the fact that McEnroe loaned a hand in helping police with the Lawrence Salander art scam – McEnroe really has made a life full of tennis and art!
Wojciech Fibak is a former Polish tennis player turned art collector. Fibak also played in the Wimbledon tournament where he headed to the quarter-finals in 1980. Fibak collects mainly polish contemporary art with several of his work held at his own properties and gallery spaces. Fibak recently partnered with Abbey House, an auction house in Warsaw, Poland. The concept of Abbey House is unique – artists produce works in exchange for a monthly stipend. Fibak has collected works by the most celebrated representatives of 19th and 20th century Polish paintings, with particular emphasis on the Ecole de Paris. Artists in his collection include Leopold Gottlieb, Henryk Hayden, Moses Kisling, Piotr Michalowski, and many more!