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Robert Riggs (1896-1970)
Robert Riggs (1896-1970)
Robert Riggs (1896-1970)
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ROBERT RIGGS (1896-1970)

"Goliath hit him with the first clean right hand of the evening"

Details
ROBERT RIGGS (1896-1970)
"Goliath hit him with the first clean right hand of the evening"
signed 'Riggs' (lower right)
tempera on panel
19 x 24 in. (48.3 x 60.9 cm.)
Painted in 1952.
Provenance
Private collection, New York.
Christie's, New York, 10 March 1989, lot 334, sold by the above.
Private collection, Virginia, acquired from the above.
Christie's, New York, 19 May 2016, lot 59, sold by the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Literature
W. Fay, "One-Punch O'Dowd," The Saturday Evening Post, October 4, 1952, p. 37, illustrated.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay


Once a member of the circus, Robert Riggs became a successful artist and illustrator known for circus scenes and prize-fighting subjects. The present work illustrates William Fay’s short story "One-Punch O’Dowd," which was published in the October 4th, 1952 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. In Fay's story, down-and-out manager “Flexible” Flynn experiences a change of heart after desperation drives him to enlist novice fighter Goliath O’Dowd to take a beating from boxing champion Rocky Falco. However, as seen in the present work, Goliath wins the fight in a stunning turn of events, leaving Flexible “in no position to explain Goliath’s success as the most miraculous and heaven-assisted strike since Moses smote the rock.” Still, the new champ had to go on to defend his title. “Goliath took punishment as some men take Martinis,” eventually winning his second fight and proving that perseverance and love will beat all odds. (The Saturday Evening Post, October 4, 1952, p. 152)

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