The Powerful Hand of George Bellows: These "Images-Ranging from Intimate Studies of the Artist's Friends and Family to Public Sporting Events and Social Gatherings-Have Not Been Seen Together since the 1950s."

Article excerpt

BEST KNOWN FOR a relatively small number of controversial boxing images, George Bellows (1882-1925) long has been respected for his ability to capture the spirit and character of American life early in the 20th century. He equally is notable for his contributions to landscape painting and portraiture. While his famous paintings convey the liveliness present in many aspects of society, from urban scenes to the seashore, his lesser-known drawings reveal how he captured this energy with a quick, vibrant line that leaps off the page and brings the scenes to life. These drawings not only are preparatory works for paintings and lithographs; they often are finished works themselves, intended for publication in magazines and newspapers such as Harper's Weekly and The Masses.

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During his brief lifetime he was a college dropout at 22, member of the National Academy of Design at 27, the country's most accomplished lithographer at 35, and dead of appendicitis at 43--Bellows was given major one-artist exhibitions at museums in Chicago, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Rochester, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass.; and Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

Since his death, the country's most significant collections of American paintings have granted Bellows a place among their most important artists, celebrating his accomplishments in at least 20 major exhibitions. …