Robert Riggs, Boxer Combing Hair
Robert Riggs frequently used boxers as his subjects. Going to training gyms, evening bouts, and even dressing rooms, Riggs observed fighters in all aspects of their professional lives. In 1931, he attended an exhibition of George Bellows’s prints of boxers, which inspired him to learn lithography and take up the boxing ring as a subject. Where Bellows sometimes veered into caricature in his depictions, Riggs endowed his subjects with heroism and grit.
Riggs executed twenty-six prizefight prints. Rather than show the fighter in the arena, Boxer Combing Hair depicts the subject in profile before a mirror, his robe held ready by his assistant. The rendering of velvety blacks contrasts starkly with the white highlights, bringing focus to the variety of textures and details in the print.