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    Nearly identical to famous November 11, 1974 Sports Illustrated cover

    Circa 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" Original Painting by LeRoy Neiman--Featuring Muhammad Ali & George Foreman. It's arguably the most famous bout in boxing history, a dramatic battle in Kinshasa, Zaire pitting the seemingly irresistible ferocity of reigning Heavyweight Champion George Foreman against the wily resurgence of underdog Ali, a former two-time belt-holder aiming for his third trip to the mountain top. Like all transcendent sporting events, from the 1951 "Shot Heard 'round the World" to the 1980 "Miracle on Ice," the "Rumble in the Jungle" captivated the imagination of a populace deeply divided in its allegiances, in this case mostly related to perceptions regarding Ali's patriotism in light of his controversial Vietnam War stance, and the relative "authentic blackness" of the two combatants.

    We all know how the story played out--for the better part of seven rounds, Muhammad Ali leaned against the ropes in a defensive shell, weathering the whirlwind of punches that rarely found soft flesh, instead glancing off the former Champ's arms and shoulders. This "Rope-a-Dope" strategy worked like a charm, and when Ali sensed that Foreman's aggression was subsiding to exhaustion in the oppressive African heat, he unleashed his own quick fury of blows, sending the Goliath cartwheeling to the canvas for a stunning eighth-round knockout.

    This compelling work by renowned sports artist LeRoy Neiman captures that stunning moment that the hunter became the hunted, an image nearly identical to the photograph that commanded the cover of the November 11, 1974 issue of Sports Illustrated under the twin headlines, "Taking Back the Title" and "How Ali Fooled Them All." The pose, the spray of perspiration, the Everlast labeling, the design of the trunks--all leave no doubt but that this work captures that most dramatic moment of the twentieth century prize ring. Neiman supplied the cover art for the closed-circuit broadcast program sold to the American audience the day of the bout, and several popular prints, but this is the first original work we have encountered that portrays action from Zaire.

    The oil on board masterpiece is the definitive expression of the Neiman aesthetic, with his audacious color palette and thick paint application, the background a boiling blood red that perfectly compliments the sudden explosion of Ali's fury. Neiman signs the work in white at lower right. The viewable area of the work is 15.5x21", with museum-quality framing completing the dimensions at 26x32". Condition is superb, with no flaws to report. Included is a certificate of authenticity from the famous Merrill Chase Galleries of Chicago. Third party shipping required.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2016
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,484

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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