Hyman Bloom: Untitled (The Boxer), about 1935
someone pouring water on boxer resting in corner of ring
Hyman Bloom
Untitled (The Boxer), about 1935
Oil on canvas, 14 x 10 in.


In this small painting, a boxer in blue trunks is pictured sitting on a stool, leaning back into his corner. He holds onto the ropes with his boxing gloves. A trainer assists him by pouring water onto his face and holding a towel. A bucket sits at his side. The faces of both men are not clearly shown. Is it the end of the fight or just the end of a round?

Bloom found this dramatic subject in his every-day life. The image recalls traditional fine art paintings of historic, religious, or heroic figures, but chooses to focus on a popular, lower-class, contemporary (in 1935) scene. As Americans found more leisure time, spectator sports became major entertainment. Boxing was a popular sporting event during the first half of the twentieth century. Many artists worked to capture images of modern American life.


Hyman Bloom was born in Latvia and immigrated to the United States after World War I, settling in Boston. He showed a great talent for art and embraced the human figure as his subject matter. In the 1940s Bloom was connected to a group of artists called the Boston Expressionists for their figure paintings that used sketchy brushstrokes and expressive color. Even as New York artists began to move to total abstraction, Bloom never stopped painting the human figure. In the later 1940s and the 1950s, Bloom’s work began to draw upon his Jewish religious heritage, perhaps as a response to the horrors faced by Jews during World War II. He taught several generations of Boston artists and continues to create and exhibit his powerful work today.