This print recreates a dramatic moment in the legendary 1923 bout between American boxing legend Jack Dempsey and Argentine fighter Luis Firpo, in which the challenger astonishingly knocked the champion through the ropes. A sports fan (and former athlete), Bellows attended the fight and wrote excitedly to Robert Henri: “When Demspey was knocked through the ropes he fell in my lap. I cursed him a bit and placed him carefully back in the ring with instructions to be of good cheer.” The episode inspired an oil painting, on which this print (like Stag at Sharkey’s) is based. Scholars have variously identified both the startled figure beneath the fallen Dempsey and the bald man at the far left as Bellows. The composition exhibits a greater sense of balance and monumentality than Stag at Sharkey’s, perhaps reflecting the sport’s increased cultural legitimacy and broader appeal by the 1920s.
fighting; figures; male; historical figures; darkrooms; battlefields; sports
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