Thursday, March 1, 2012

George Bellows (1882-1925)

George Bellows (1882-1925) is known for his drawings, lithography prints, and paintings. Bellows was born to an architect father and a strong mother in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the University of Ohio, where he played baseball for three years. Bellows passed up a professional ball career to pursue a career in the arts, traveling to New York City where he met his mentor, Robert Henri. Bellows quickly became successful, and his work sold quickly to major galleries, institutions and museums throughout out the nation, and traveled throughout the world.
Bellows’ work is championed for it’s unique American quality. Bellows strength was in his ability to stay true to his own vision. In doing so he created work with integrity, that was not confused or diluted by movements of the time such as Cubism, Futurism, and modernism. Bellows has an honest interest in the common man, which shows in his work. His subject matter ranges from prize fighting scenes, intimate portraits of his family, and landscapes to female nudes. 

Bellows died a relatively young death when his appendix burst in 1925, cutting short a fruitful career. 

Drawing Tin Can Battle, San Juan Hill, New York, 1907, Crayon, ink with charcoal,  21'x24 1/2"

Bellows drawings were not only studies but complete works in themselves. Bellows' strong sense of compositional structure, rythym and drama propelled his work.

The Murder of Edith Carvell, 1918, lithograph, 20 3/8"x 25 7/8"

Bellows was interested in dramatic subject matter, sometimes of a political nature. Edith Carvell was a German nurse who helped English, French and Belgian soldiers escape during the German occupation of Belgium. She was discovered, accused of treason, and was executed before a firing squad.

The White Horse, 1922, Oil on Canvas

Considered Bellows' best landscape by Peyton Boswell (see bibliography) because it showcases Bellows'  "...aesthetic gifts- in draftsmanship, in color and in emotional content."

Stag At Sharkeys, 1909, Oil on Canvas, 36 1/4"x48 1/4"

One of Bellows famous prize fighting scenes, his most widely recognized work.


Boswell, Peyton. George Bellows. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 1942. Print.

Haverstock, Mary. George Bellows: An Artist in Action. London: Merrell Publishers Limited, 2007. Print.

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