AN ENGLISH CUBIST
Group of People
Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts
Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.
Wrestling Scene (aka Sam Rabin versus Black Eagle I), with colour notes, and Group of People, 1934
Two drawings on the back of a wrestling programme (11.8 cm x 16.5 cm), with date noted as 22 June 1934: pencil, 8 cm x 8 cm and 7 cm x 9 cm
Although exhibited in Dulwich 1985 as a study for Sam Rabin versus Black Eagle 1934, the sketch appears to represent general research into wrestling subjects by Roberts. The drawing is made on the back of a wresting programme annotated 22 June 1934 which lists five bouts but none of them involving either Rabin or Black Eagle. Also, the sketch is a very different composition from that of Sam Rabin versus Black Eagle, and its colour notes do not correspond to that picture. The WrestlingClassics website lists several fights involving either Rabin or Black Eagle in London in 1934, but any record of a London fight between the two of them around that date has proved elusive. It is therefore possible that Roberts imagined the scene shown in the final painting after having seen each of them fighting other opponents and also fights involving neither of them.
PROVENANCE: Estate of John David Roberts (held in Tate store, 2014)
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Dulwich 1985 (as Sam Rabin versus Black Eagle I)
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