Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Golden Gloves, 2016.

The Golden Gloves, 2016
oil on linen canvas - 80x60cm

In the second of my new works for 2016 I returned to a familiar subject. My Grandfathers boxing gloves, which hang on the wall of my studio, were left to me upon his passing in 1994. 

In August 2014 I created a smaller sketch in oils of this personal and iconic symbol. I hope placing a broken egg shell under the gloves in the original composition would contrast the sometimes violent sport and my gentle Papa while at the same time evoking the idea of the fragility of life and the dreams we create.

These gloves were worn by my grandfather Dick Hearns when boxing for Ireland v USA at Soldier Field, Chicago, in 1933.

Dick fought Max Marek in the light heavyweight division.  Marek had defeated the legendary Joe Louis in the final of the US Amateur Championships that year.  Louis became one of the greatest Heavyweight Champions of the world.

The following is an extract from the report of the match in The Chicago Tribune -

"The 40,000 patrons put up a terrible squawk when the decision was given to Max Marek, veteran Chicago lightheavyweight, over Dick Hearns of Ireland.  This happened to be the bout which clinched the championship for the US and though Phil Collins the referee, decided for Hearns and properly so, the judges gave it to Marek.

Though the decision went to Marek, giving the US a certain victory, the crowd did not take kindly to the decision.  Hearns traded punch for punch with Marek all the way and the margin, if there was one in this bout, might have been given to the Irish lad.  Certainly the crowd seemed to think so, for it seemed as if 40,000 varieties of booing, stamping of feet and plain and ordinary squawking resounded through Soldier Field for a long time making the introduction of the heavyweights who fought in the closing bout an impossibility".

Dick Hearns was my Grandad.

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