This is a classic. Not a masterpiece, that's reserved for the likes of George Bellows, but I consider it a classic painting nevertheless. This is a painting I never used in either my books or booklets. It was painted by an Englishman, now long dead, depicting the arranged fights between two women in England starting during the 1700's and ending in the late 1800's. It was titled: 'Outdoor Pugilism' but for the 'DA' Site I re-named it with a more obvious title. There was no sport involved, instead it would be between two poor women who would fight until one was knocked out - Winner take all. It was brutal, carnal, and no longer continues, except for the underground matches in the U.S. Europe and Asia. This very talented artist did a number of these works and lived in the fear that his wife would find out about his secret passion. To my knowledge, she never did. But we have. For what that's worth. To me, a lot. He only signed it with his initials: T.G. 'Nuff said by me. Drew.
For another viewpoint. The following tome is from Barbara, the owner of the site: 'Combative Women': "We don't have much to imagine with this remarkable piece of art. We have here pictured a bare-knuckle boxing match from the early portion of this century (although the work is probably much more contemporary). This is "reference art" at its finest: an attempt to recall the great art of the past while substituting elements of a particular interest or fantasy. You've doubtless scene artworks of two men fighting like this: bare knuckled, in a make- shift ring, in front of a blood-thirsty crowd. The very pulse of the work is intensely desperate: the fighters are probably poor and needing the bit of money one could get from such weekly combat. The crowd, working-class and frustrated by its long and hard week of work, is desperate for the catharsis that the blood and violence will bring. Except that these two fighters have long hair that's put up and... well... they have breasts. LOL These are women. In fact, there IS a historical accuracy in the work: women did box and "free fight" in front of working class crowds for money during the late 18th and 19th centuries and could make quite a bit of money doing it (compared with their less than subsistence wages). And YES, they did often fight bare-breasted. These fights were long and bloody and many of the blows were aimed at the upper torso. Given the scarcity of medication and the fact that any upper garment they would normally wear would be somewhat dirty, a skin-breaking blow with such a garment on could cause a life-threatening infection. So the "healthy" alternative was topless boxing! Still, as it is rendered, this is fantasy art and amazing and powerful art it is! The virtuosity of the technique is obvious but what's more powerful is the sensuality and the energy of it all. For one thing, the body positions are highly eroticized. For another, the crowd - lo and behold, there are women in that crowd cheering on this unbelievably violent affair and they blood lust on their faces is even more prominent than those of the men. All of it, including the explicable bare breasts, simply adds to the eroticism of a wonderful piece of art!"
Years have passed since I first uploaded this painting. Since then I have commissioned a number of works, several of which I consider masterworks of Combative Women. After going through the lengthy trials and huge expense of the Act Of Creation, I have returned to this work with new found appreciation. As such, I stand corrected. In its own way, it is a masterpiece. Concerning the artist, the great tragedy, the bitter pity, is all of his fighting women artwork was of an underground nature. All, of which were never put on public display, and consequently collected by private collectors, this because he didn't want his wife to know of this peculiar fetish. Which, of course, I don't consider a fetish at all. Now that this Brit is gone only a few of his works have surfaced to be viewed by the general public. For this we should be grateful. This is the pick of the litter. Drew.