Provenance: Estate of the artist; Peploe Family
Cadell's male portraits are strikingly different to his portraits of society ladies. In his paintings of young men he tended to emphasise the muscularity and vigour of the sitter.
Cadell did a number of paintings of his manservant Charles Oliver in his bathing costume on the beach at Iona - his face and hands sunburnt. In the early 1920s he painted portraits of black men, often semi-clothed - a subject that would have been very daring for the time.
As with The Boxer, the flushed face of The Rugby Player suggests the sporting life of the sitter.