Saint-Jean-de-Braye, Loiret 1891 - Neuville-Saint-Vaast, Pas-de-Calais 1915

Les lutteurs

The Wrestlers




Dimensions (HxWxD): 28 14 x 36 14 x 2 in.

artist's monogram on lower front center

Acc. No.: 65.1683.1

Credit Line: Otis Norcross Fund

Photo credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

© Artist:


  • 1915, by inheritance at the artist's death to his companion, Sophie Brzeska (1873-1925), Gloucestershire, England,
  • 1927, sold from the estate of Sophie Brzeska to Harold Stanley (Jim) Ede (1895-1990), Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, England
  • 1927-1965, Jim Ede
  • 1965, December 8, sold by Ede to the MFA
  • Gaudier-Brzeska used his oil painting Portrait of a Whitechapel Jew (MFA accession no. 65.1683.2) as the support for this plaster relief. The painting and relief were separated by the MFA shortly after the object was acquired.


  • Museum's website, 27 February 2012 and 20 March 2012
  • 1930 Ede
    Harold Stanley Ede, Savage Messiah: A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska, London, Heinemann, 1930, p. 200-201
  • 1965 Connaissance des Arts
    Connaissance des Arts, May 1965, p.70
  • 1978 Cole
    Roger Cole, Burning to Speak: the Life and Art of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Oxford, Phaidon, 1978, p. 93, repr.
  • 1980 Koslow
    Francine A. Koslow, "The Evolution of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska's 'Wrestlers' Relief", MFA Bulletin, vol. 78, June 1980, p. 38-49
  • 1998 Dewey
    Alice Dewey, "Between Charleston and Kettle's Yard: Omega's Savage Messiah", The Charleston Magazine, no. 18, Autumn/Winter 1998, p. 21, repr.


  • 1918 London

    Gaudier-Brzeska Memorial Retrospective, London, Leicester Galleries, 1918, no. 69

    1943 Leeds

    Roy de Maistre and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Leeds, Temple Newsam, June-August, 1943, no. 78

    1955-1956 London

    Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, London, Arts Council Gallery, December, 1955-January, 1956, no. 28

    2009 London

    Wildthing-Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill, London, Royal Academy of Arts, October 24, 2009-January 24, 2010, p.75, repr.

Related works

  • Portrait of a Whitechapel Jew, Oil on canvas by Gaudier-Brzeska, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts (the artist used this oil painting as a support for his plaster relief The Wrestlers; the painting and relief were separated by the MFA shortly after the object was acquired).
    The Wrestlers, plaster, numbered 8/9, London, Tate Gallery.
    Two Figures Entrined, pencil, c. 1913, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.
    Two Wrestlers, Black ink, c. 1913, Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou.
    The Wrestlers, linocut on paper, 1913-1914, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, numbered 39/50.
    Lead, 1912, Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum.


  • Museum's website, July 6, 2011:
    Despite early and intense admiration for Rodin, after moving to London Gaudier-Brzeska developed an equally wild enthusiasm for the "primitive." A friend commented that he "was always talking 'savage' and 'barbaric' and gloated over the free and exotic life of the south seas." These sinuous, seemingly weightless wrestlers combine Gaudier's enthusiasm for non-Western art with the excitement he felt at wrestling matches: "I went to see the wrestlers. -God! I have seldom seen anything so lovely. … They fought with ...amazing vivacity and spirit, turning in the air, falling back on their heads, and in a flash were up again on the other side, utterly incomprehensible."