George Bellows

ArtsWatch Weekly: Boxing Day and the power of stories

As a year closes, stories keep reinventing Oregon's culture and art. Looking back, and peeking forward into 2020 and beyond.

THIS MORNING, FOR A DAILY ONLINE SERIES THAT’S NOT PART OF ARTSWATCH, I celebrated Boxing Day by publishing a picture of “Dempsey and Firpo,” a 1924 painting by the great American artist George Bellows that shows the Argentine boxer Luis Ángel Firpo, the “Wild Bull of the Pampas,” knocking reigning champ Jack Dempsey out of the ring in a famous 1923 heavyweight championship bout at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Dempsey banged his head hard when he landed. After a controversial long count he climbed back into the ring and, in the next round, knocked out Firpo to retain his crown. 

George Bellows, “Dempsey and Firpo,” 1924, oil on canvas, 51.2 x 63.25 inches, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.