Activities
Dempsey and Firpo

a. With your students, view and discuss George Bellows’s painting Dempsey and Firpo, 1924Ask students todescribe what is happening in this work. Where would they be if they were in the space of this painting? Have students follow the lines made by the people's bodies and ropes. Where do they go? What shapes can they find when they follow the lines? Notice the absence of women in this scene, according to social conventions of the time.

b. Ask your students to create a narrative or story around the image. What is going on? What might have happened before the moment depicted? What might happen afterwards?

c.  Watch historical film footage of Dempsey vs. Firpo, 1923: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NN0vGHnCLo

How does the film differ from the painting? Is it similar? In what ways?

d. Ask students to think of a recent sports or entertainment event that they find interesting. For example, a concert, a performance, a football match, a television show, or a movie. Have them create a drawing or collage depicting one exciting moment of that event. Ask them to consider the following questions. What makes that moment exciting? How will they show the excitement of that moment? Whose point of view will they represent? Are students watching this event or are they involved as one of the players or characters? What details will they add so people know what the event is?

George Bellows (1882–1925), Dempsey and Firpo, 1924. Oil on canvas, 51 1/8 x 63 1/4 in. (129.9 x 160.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.95