Robert Riggs, Little Brown Brother
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.
In this lithograph, a boxer steps into the ring through ropes held taut by an assistant. With a robe clutched around his neck and a resolute expression, the formidable fighter plants his well-muscled right leg and knee firmly on the mat. Behind him, ghoulish spectators await the action.