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The Knockdown

1931 Mahonri Young Born: Salt Lake City, Utah 1877 Died: Norwalk, Connecticut 1957 bronze 25 1/2 x 30 3/4 x 17 in. (64.7 x 78.0 x 43.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mahonri Sharp Young 1976.122.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, South Wing


Luce Center Quote

"To me the problem has always been to animate the inert and lifeless material, whether bronze, stone, or wood, and to make it function like one of nature’s own creations." The artist, quoted in Toone, Mahonri Young: His Life and Art, 1997

Luce Center Label

Mahonri Young loved sports when he was a boy and often attended boxing matches with his younger brother, Wally. On a trip to Paris in 1926, he began his popular Prizefighter series, which includes The Knockdown. Images of sporting events and athletes were very popular in the American art market during the 1920s and 1930s, and Young's pieces, which emphasize the excitement and danger of boxing, brought him widespread recognition. Here, he captured the moment when the loser falls to the mat, emphasizing his defeat by making his body appear to melt into the base of the sculpture. The winner, in contrast, seems to spring upward as he follows through with a devastating left hook.

Keywords

Figure group - male

Occupation - sport - boxing

Portrait male - Dempsey, Jack

Portrait male - Firpo, Luis Angel

sculpture

metal - bronze

About Mahonri Young

Born: Salt Lake City, Utah 1877 Died: Norwalk, Connecticut 1957

More works in the collection by
Mahonri Young