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Cat's Cradle

Usage Conditions Apply
Alternate Title
Muhammad Ali
Henry C. Casselli, Jr., born 25 October 1946
Muhammad Ali, 17 Jan 1942 - 3 Jun 2016
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 121.9 x 182.7cm (48 x 71 15/16")
Frame: 144.1 x 204.8 x 8.6cm (56 3/4 x 80 5/8 x 3 3/8")
Muhammad Ali: Male
Muhammad Ali: Sports and Recreation\Athlete\Boxer
Muhammad Ali: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Sig Rogich Family Trust
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© 2002, Henry Casselli
Object number
Exhibition Label
When Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay, 1942) proclaimed “I am the greatest,” it was hard not to agree. Just twenty-two years old when he stunned the boxing world by upsetting heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in 1964, Ali would become the first three-time winner of the heavyweight crown. A consummate showman whose braggadocio and rhyming banter captivated the public, the fleet-footed and graceful Ali was mesmerizing as he confounded opponents with his unorthodox boxing style. Ali was also a potent force beyond the ring. In 1967 he became a symbol of conscience to many when he was convicted of draft evasion and stripped of his title after refusing military induction on the basis of his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court later overturned the conviction, and Ali battled back in the ring to regain the heavyweight title in 1974.
Sig [Sigmund] Rogich, Las Vegas; gift 2001 to NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery