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Sporting art

“Sporting art” is the term used to refer to scenes of hunting and fishing. Unlike its close cousin “wildlife art,” which Hinton also produced, sporting art typically shows hunters, guns, and the “bag” (the captured animal or fish). It has a noble pedigree in art history, from the cave paintings of prehistoric humans to the Late Gothic French Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, to the elegant still-lifes of hanging rabbits and pheasants by Dutch and French old masters.

Hinton enjoyed fishing and shooting trap and skeet. He did not hunt, because he disliked killing animals, but he understood the importance of hunting for other men. American authorities and luminaries such as President Theodore Roosevelt, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman had been philosophizing about the healthful and moral benefits of the “strenuous life"” since the 19th century. It was thought that city life corrupted the body and judgment, and Progressive-era white-collar professionals feared becoming soft and sissified. Magazines such as Sports Afield and Outdoor Life catered to gentlemen who wanted to spend their leisure hours reasserting their independence, masculinity, and core values out in the wild. While some covers emphasize friendships and family ties, most show a single man or a man with a guide concentrating on a challenging encounter with fish or game. Many covers simply show dogs (a Hinton favorite) or wildlife. Sometimes, covers are humorous.

Outdoor Life

Self portrait as man buying tackle.

Hinton frequently used himself and his son Ray as models. Although he did much of his drawing from memory, he also took photographs for reference. He made pencil sketches and then composed a small, comprehensive rendering, usually in a limited range of colours. The comprehensive was shown to
the art director, who would either approve it or recommend changes. The final artwork was
painted accordingly.

Drawing of son Ray Hinton, and comprehensive rendering.

 

 

Sports Afield

Hinton combines leisure with duty during World War II

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