The International Contest between Heenan & Sayers

Victor Dubreuil

Published by Victor Dubreuil, New York
Used Condition: Very Good No Binding
From Arader Galleries of Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)

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VICTOR DUBREUIL'S TROMPE L'OEIL PAINTING OF A LITHOGRAPH Oil on canvas Canvas size: 31 1/2" x 41 1/2" Frame size: Frame size: 36 1/8" x 46 3/8" Signed l.r.: V. Dubreuil Provenance: Private collection Exhibitions: The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, The Artist at Ringside, 1992, exh. cat. p.72 (illus. in color on cover); The National Art Museum of Sport, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 1-August 2, 1992; Spanierman Gallery, LLC, New York, Tranquil America: A Century of Painting, 1840-1940, November 4, 2000-February 28, 2001 Literature: The Artist at Ringside exh. cat. (The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, 1992), p.72 (illus. in color on cover); Tranquil America: A Century of Painting, 1840-1940 (Spanierman Gallery, LLC, New York, 2000), pl.9, color illus. Victor Dubreuil's painting of The International Contest between Heenan & Sayers cleverly recreates the 1860 lithograph by the same name. It is a remarkable trompe l'oeil or "trick of the eye" and an exact replica of the print on canvas. The artist's intentions behind creating such an image are not readily apparent. The painting may be a reference to the class struggles prevalent during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Boxers were mainly from working class backgrounds and in America pugilism became a popular avenue for African-Americans eager to escape slavery. In contrast, the spectators were from the wealthier classes and it is known that among the crowd watching the Heenan and Sayers fight were Charles Dickens and William Thackeray. The painting may also be a comment upon Anglo-American relations during the second half of the nineteenth century, as the global power of imperial Britain was threatened by its colonial dominion. The heavyweight title fight between the English boxer Tom Sayers and his American counterpart John .C. Heenan was fought in 1860. It took place at Farnborough, England because pugilism was still officially outlawed in the United States. However, it was the first title fight to draw attention form both sides of the Atlantic. Heenan outweighed Sayers by 46 pounds and towered six inches above him. Up to this time America had not been regarded as a serious contender for the world title, but the discrepancy in the weights was expected to give Heenan a real chance. The fight was bloody from the beginning, in the sixth round, Sayers broke his right arm blocking a punch and in the eighth, Heenan broke his left hand. In the 37th round someone cut the ropes and the referee deserted. The fight continued for five more rounds until it ended in a draw. Among the most enigmatic of the American trompe l'oeil still-life painters of the late nineteenth century was Victor Dubreuil, born in New York City to French émigré parents. While Dubreuil's training is unknown, his name appears in Manhattan directories in 1886. Dubreuil had a satirical streak, frequently painting dollar bills to underscore America's preoccupation with wealth in the age of the robber barons. His works show a preoccupation with the plight of the working man through the policies of government. Bookseller Inventory # 002034

Bibliographic Details

Title: The International Contest between Heenan & ...

Publisher: Victor Dubreuil, New York

Binding: N/A

Book Condition:Very Good

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Arader Galleries has specialized in the field of color plate books and early works on paper for over thirty years. The size and quality of our inventory is second to no other dealer. We are committed to building the finest art and book collections for our clients. We welcome the opportunity to work with you. Lori Cohen, Gallery Director, has worked in the international fine art market for 22 years. She advises museums and libraries on acquisitions as well as distinguished private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe.

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