Sam Doyle drew as a young boy in school and later as a young man, but it was in the 1960s, after he retired, that he was finally able to devote himself full time to artmaking, creating five hundred to seven hundred paintings during a twenty-year career. Doyle proudly displayed his paintings in his yard, which he sometimes called the St. Helena Outdoor Art Gallery. The artist typically painted figures against a solid color background, and sports figures were a favorite topic, particularly boxers such as Joe Lewis. In this work the subjects are likely the early twentieth-century fighters Abe Attell and Peter Kane, but the artist uses their names to evoke the biblical figures Cain and Abel, brother against brother.
Stacy C. Hollander, "ABE. KANE," exhibition label for Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2012.