A turn of the century prize fighter stares at the viewer while his manager stands directly behind him.

James Chapin

American, 1887–1975

A Prize Fighter and His Manager, 1930

Oil on canvas

21 x 19 inches

Signed upper left and dated upper right

James Chapin was a seminal figure in the American Scene, painting the world outside his front door – agricultural life and portraits of rural workers and their way of life. By the 1930s, Chapin widened his purview to create portraits of urban life including workers from diverse backgrounds, athletes, barflies, shop girls, movie stars and gangsters.

While his pictures of farmers spoke to their struggles, especially during the years after the Depression, Chapin found the same history of hardship etched in the faces of many American sports figures. Chapin’s searing depiction of the boxer in A Prize Fighter and His Manager, tells the tale of a man whose very existence is about surviving the punches that both his profession and life have thrown him. The fighter’s face is a visual timeline of the emotional and physical pain he has experienced. Chapin’s strategy to delineate a sharp contrast between the fighter and the manager reinforces the vulnerability of the fighter and his precarious future.

A turn of the century prize fighter stares at the viewer while his manager stands directly behind him.