"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Althea Gibson

This 1957 watercolor portrait of Althea Gibson by Boris Chaliapin, for the cover of Time Magazine, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"In 1955, Althea Gibson contemplated retiring from competitive tennis. Had she done so, she would have denied herself her greatest moment. Two years later, this "lanky jumping jack of a girl," who had begun her sports career playing paddle tennis in New York's Harlem, was arriving home from England, the winner of the women's singles and doubles titles at the prestigious Wimbledon championships. Within another two months, she had won the u.s. women's singles crown at Forest Hills, New York, and emerged triumphant as America's clay court champion as well. "Althea Gibson," reported Time magazine in its cover story for August 26, 1957, "is not the most graceful figure on the courts, and her game is not stylish." Nevertheless, it was clear that at thirty an age when most tennis players lose their competitive edge she was only then hitting her stride." -- National Portrait Gallery

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