From Zachary Small’s article “Queering the Art Historical Record to Make Space for an Invented Artist” for Hyperallergic:
Trust the advertisements and you will enter ClampArt’s Chelsea gallery as an unsuspecting victim of an artful ruse two decades in the making. The oil paintings that populate this space with disrobed, indecently muscular gymnasts and wrestlers were purportedly uncovered by the artist Mark Beard, who has curated an exhibition devoted to his great-uncle, Bruce Sargeant.
Sargeant, whose work was prized in the early 20th century in elite galleries and salons on both sides of the Atlantic, died prematurely, at age 40, in a tragic wrestling accident. His work is a celebration of the male physique. His images of athletic tussles between men recall iconography of Christ’s crucifixion, with the homoerotic subtext. Had Sargeant lived longer, Beard believes he would have joined the pantheon of early 2oth-century figurative artists, like Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer.
Had he ever existed.