NHO Auction: Tennis and Art Come Together for a Cause

by Nicholas McCarvel

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Golf star – and boyfriend to New Haven Open regular Caroline WozniackiRory McIlroy didn’t make it in person to the Connecticut Tennis Center this year, but his swing did, immortalized in a dynamic and eye-catching piece of art just outside of Stadium Court.

The painting, along with one of four-time champion Wozniacki, are part of a silent auction being held through this weekend to benefit the Breast Cancer Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

“As an artist, it’s a no-brainer to plug in with these athletes,” said the painter, Brendan Murphy. His company, Solfire, is also the tournament’s official clothing sponsor, providing an added tie-in to the cause.

“We love to be a part communities that our brand is connected with, and this felt right.”

The paintings are doused in color and include quotes and phrases pertaining to each of the athletes. Murphy has done similar projects for the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

“I actually know Caroline and Rory,” Murphy explained. “The paintings themselves are representative of my other sports series. It’s not photo-realism, but there are representative bits in the process. I try to use a lot of color to get some level of movement and provide more depth and dimension.”

The dimensions of the paintings themselves are almost life size, with the McIlroy painting standing five feet tall and nearly four feet wide.

Murphy’s art and paintings are often used as inspiration for Solfire gear, like some of the apparel found in the tournament’s pro shop.

As for the Wozniacki and McIlroy works, Murphy said he hopes bidders in New Haven will see the value not only in the paintings, but in what they’re going to help.

“Who knows. This could be our golf shirt logo at some point down the road,” he said. “But I hope it helps some people out first. That’s our point here.”

WANT TO BID? Head to the Ooh La La wine bar, just shy of Stadium Court. The silent auction closes Saturday, at the tournament’s conclusion.

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