George Bellows 1882 —1925

Biography

"Others paved the way and I came at the psychological moment."
-George Bellows

“The decisions that George Wesley Bellows made were bold, stimulating, spontaneous and portrayed

a potency that was characteristic of both the artist and his work. Whether looking at an

action scene, seascape or portrait painting, there is immediacy, honesty and a vitality that grab

the viewer.   It is for these reasons that Bellows is the most memorable precursor of one of the greatest American art movements: action painting.”

-Amy Kleppinger

As a child, Bellows struck a balance between athletics and art, pairing a basis of knowledge of the human form with a passion for both endeavors early on which continued throughout his life. While studying and playing sports at Ohio State University, he created illustrations for the school yearbook.  If it were not for his rejection of an offer to play baseball professionally after college, we may never have been exposed to one of America’s finest, and most radical artist’s, of his era.   

 

Going against the wishes of his family, in 1904 Bellows enrolled in the New York School of Art.  Here he made a crucial choice between studying under the popular and ostentatious William Merritt Chase and the conservative realist Robert Henri.  He chose the latter and joined a radical group of artists called “The Eight” including John Sloan and William Glackens under the leadership of his new mentor.  Members of the group painted morose urban scenes using vigorous brush strokes and dark color palettes.  He painted one of his most admired works,  Stag at Sharkey's in 1907 (Cleveland Museum of Art Collection).  It demonstrated Bellows’ interest in capturing the emotional energy of his subject.  This was an interest that he never lost, always wanting to portray the vitality of the human figure as a striking physical and emotional presence in his work. Bellows first achieved broad notice in 1908, when he and other pupils of Henri organized an exhibition of mostly urban studies. While many critics considered these to be crudely painted, others found them welcomely audacious and a step beyond the work of his teacher.  His fame grew as he contributed to other nationally recognized juried shows.  During this period, Bellows developed his strong sense of light and visual texture.  In December 1999, Polo Crowd, a 1910 painting, sold for U.S. $27.5 million to billionaire Bill Gates. In November 2008, Bellows' 'Men of the Docks' a 1912 painting of the Brooklyn docks spanning the East River and depicting the Manhattan skyline in the background, was to be auctioned at Christie's in New York. It was expected to set the record for an American painting sold at auction with an estimate of $25-35 million. [13] The painting's sale however was a source of controversy at Randolph College because it was the first masterpiece purchased for the The Maier Museum of Art by students and locals who scraped together $2,500 to purchase it in 1920. [14] Due to a series of lawsuits and the deflated art market; the painting remains unsold and in limbo.

 

He created some of his most noteworthy and famous works, "Forty-Two Kids" (1907), "Stag at Sharkey's" (1909) and "Both Members of this Club" (1909) early in his career.  His skillful presentation of realist subject matter and was recognized as a master when he was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design in 1909.  Despite being one of the youngest artists in this school of painting, he rejected the revered institution’s offer citing the superficial portrayal of everyday life by the institution as his rationale.

 

Instead, Bellows taught at the Art Students Leagues in New York City and in 1913 received full membership into the National Academy of Design.  In 1913 he was one of the main organizers of the infamous Armory Show that is known for eternally altering the development of American Art.  At the show the European modern art movement to American artists and critics were introduced to each other’s work and were confronted with mixed but strong reaction on either extreme of the spectrum ranging from stimulation to revulsion. 

 

Inspired by the new ideas derived from the show, Bellows expanded the range of colors he used but remained true to his trademark energetic brush strokes.   Early important paintings, such as Stag at Sharkey's, displayed Bellows’ passion for capture the emotional state as well as the  of his subjects.  This was an interest that he never lost, always wanting to portray the vivacity and physicality of the human form.  Psychological relevance was vitally important to Bellows and made several statements relaying his intuition that he came at the right psychological moment in time.

 

Bellows created and applied new revolutionary concepts regarding new notions of expressing space and movement.  At 43, Bellows died from acute appendicitis but left behind a quickly formed legacy of a young master. 

 

An important source for modern and contemporary American & European Art in East Hampton, New York & worldwide, Vered Gallery’s spectacular wide-ranging inventory consists of unique paintings, drawings, large & small scale sculpture, monotypes, prints and photographs  by Ansel Adams, Milton Avery, Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Fernando Botero, Cartier-Bresson, Marc Chagall, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Willem De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, David Hockney, Winslow Homer, Wolf Kahn, Jeff Koons, Fernand Leger, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Thomas Moran, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Charles Sheeler, Bert Stern, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, Carleton E Watkins, Tom Wesselmann and Andrew Wyeth.

An important source for modern and contemporary American & European Art in East Hampton, New York & worldwide, Janet Lehr Fine Arts' spectacular wide-ranging inventory consists of unique paintings, drawings, large & small scale sculpture, monotypes, prints and photographs  by Ansel Adams, Milton Avery, Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Fernando Botero, Cartier-Bresson, Marc Chagall, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Willem De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, David Hockney, Winslow Homer, Wolf Kahn, Jeff Koons, Fernand Leger, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Thomas Moran, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Charles Sheeler, Bert Stern, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, Carleton E Watkins, Tom Wesselmann and Andrew Wyeth.

To bookmark Janet Lehr Fine Arts Gallery website: http://www.janetlehrfinearts.com

View synoptic biography below.

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MOST RECENT EXHIBITIONS


2014
George Bellows and the American Experience, The Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH

2012
George Bellows, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Works by George Wesley Bellows are in 111 American Museums including;
Addison Gallery of American Art, Akron Art Museum, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Allentown Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum of Art, Arizona State University Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Brandywine River Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Butler Institute of American Art, Cantor Arts Center, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute, Chrysler Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Stanford, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Dallas Museum of Art, De Young Museum of San Francisco, Delaware Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Farnsworth Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Georgia Museum of Art, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Greenville County Museum of Art, Harvard University Art Museums, High Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Hunter Museum of American Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, International Tennis Hall Of Fame & Museum, Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, Jonson Gallery of University of New Mexico, Joslyn Art Museum, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Lowe Art Museum, Lyman Allyn Museum, Maier Museum of Art, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, Mead Art Museum, Memorial Art Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Michael C Carlos Museum, Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia, Museum of Art at Brigham Young University, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts-St. Petersburg, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of New Mexico, Muskegon Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, National Academy of Design, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, National Portrait Gallery, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, New York University Collection/Grey Art Gallery, Newark Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, Norton Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Parrish Art Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philbrook Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Oregon, Portland Museum of Art, Maine, Reading Public Museum, Reynolda House-Museum of American Art, Rhode Island School of Design-Museum of Art, Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Rockford Art Museum, Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Saint Joseph College Art Gallery, Saint Louis Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Snite Museum of Art, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Swope Art Museum, Telfair Museum of Art, The Arkansas Arts Center, The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, The Art Museum, Princeton University, The Canton Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia, The Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, The Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens, The Detroit Institute of Arts, The Grace Museum, The National Art Museum of Sport, Inc., The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Newark Museum, The Philbrook Museum of Art, The Phillips Collection, The Toledo Museum of Art, The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Union League Club of Chicago, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, Williams College Museum of Art, Woodstock Artists Association Museum and Yale University Art Gallery.

 

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