They Won’t Share The Tennis Balls 30cm x 25.5cm Original Oil on Board by Max Mannix
Sibling rivalries go back to Adam and Eve’s kids, the girls verses the boys. Tennis created a social revolution appealing at first to women but then men as well. Courts were prepared for home entertainment, cities converted public gardens into tennis courts, and courts were constructed within cricket clubs, croquet clubs and within the grounds of churches. Wingfield’s wooden boxed sets of equipment were loaded on ships and transported to all corners of the world, including Australia, at a truly rapid pace. Tennis here spread quickly also, from homes to clubs, too far off country towns and although “Lawn tennis” was the name, Australian courts made from asphalt, sand, clay or plain dirt appeared everywhere. There are references to a game called Long or Open Tennis in 1837 and here it depicts a doubles style event and scoring 15/30/45, advantage and deuce. Terms like rough or smooth are used for serving and there is even a mention of volleying.
A myriad of sporting goods manufacturers already producing cricket, royal tennis (UK) and in the USA baseball equipment, began designing and experimenting with new racquet designs, stringing techniques and tennis balls. Tennis fashion for the ladies and men was dashing and many clubs and local club competitions evolved. Tournaments like Wimbledon were created, The Davis Cup began in 1900, champions were held in high esteem and spectators were keen to see the best players in action.
The experiences of those years Max spent in the outback; the memories of growing up in a small country town have provided Max with an endless flow of inspiration for his paintings. His works depict life in the outback as it was then, in a light-hearted vein, keen insight and gentle humour that so keenly illustrate country Australians. Max is an Australian artist schooled out in the bush among the colourful characters he now paints. His vivid paintings are possible because he “knows” every character he paints he has worked, laughed, cried and sweated with them all. This knowledge and love of his subjects produces pieces that are so “human” that each piece has its own personality.
Max was born in Nyah-West Victoria near Swan Hill on the mighty Murray River in 1939. A self-taught artist, he works in oils, acrylics, etchings, lithographs, pen and inks and ceramic figurines. Max left home at the age of 16 to venture north and spent 20 years working in mustering camps, shearing sheds, droving and fencing. From 1966 until1973 he managed a cattle station for Dalgety covering an area of 1300 sq. miles and carrying 8000 head of cattle and 300 working horses. This property was located near Thargomindah on the Bulloo River in the far south west of Queensland. Known as “Heart Break Corner” because of its lack of rain and long droughts