George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)

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Bellows, Blue Snow the Battery, 1910

Blue Snow the Battery, 1910

Bellows, A Morning Snow, Hudson River, 1910

A Morning Snow, Hudson River, 1910

George Bellows was an American painter, known for his urban scenes of New York City. Bellows was born in Columbus, Ohio and studied at Ohio State University. As a student Bellows was a sportsman, encouraged to purse a career as a baseball player. While juggling academics and athletics, Bellows began to receive illustration assignments. It became clear to Bellows that he wanted to become a painter. Before graduating from Ohio State, Bellows moved to New York City to begin formal, artistic training.

Bellows, Emma at the Window, 1920

Emma at the Window, 1920

Bellows, Cliff Dwellers

Cliff Dwellers

In New York Bellows studied at the New York School of Art under the instruction of Robert Henri and other members of the Ashcan School. Bellows showed incredible talent as a painter and was soon able to rent his own studio. Bellows started exhibiting with other descendents of the Ashcan School, who painted raw, urban life.

Bellows, Edith Cavell, 1920

Edith Cavell, 1920

In 1909, Bellows agreed to teach at the Art Students League of New York, but continued to spend most of his time in his studio. While Bellows received mixed reviews from critics, most promoted his work on a national level.

Bellows, Both Members of this Club, 1909

Both Members of this Club, 1909

Bellows, A Stag at Sharkey's

A Stag at Sharkey’s

Bellows, A Stag at Sharkey's (lithograph print)

A Stag at Sharkey’s (lithograph print)

Bellows began to exhibit frequently, which fueled his studio productivity. Bellows’ paintings explored working-class neighborhoods in New York City, illustrating the difficulties of urban life, harsh winters and densely populated streets. In addition to Bellows’ winter scenes, he is well-known for his paintings of urban boxing matches. The boxing paintings have become iconic images in American visual culture.

Bellows, The Drunk, lithograph 1924

The Drunk, lithograph 1924

As Bellows’ reputation grew, he began to receive portrait commissions from wealthy patrons. While Bellows was accepted by the mainstream, he associated with anarchist radicals known as the “Lyrical Left”. Bellows also contributed illustrations to a socialist journal, “The Masses”.

Bellows, Forty-Two Kids

Forty-Two Kids

Bellows, Paddy Flannigan

Paddy Flannigan

Bellows, The Circus (detail) 1912

The Circus (detail) 1912

Bellows, Paradise Point

Paradise Point

Bellows, A Day in June, 1913

A Day in June, 1913

When the United States entered World War I, Bellows supported the military action and created a series of lithographs titled “The Germans Arrive”. In 1916 Bellows set up a lithography press in his studio and completed more than one hundred lithographs.

In Bellows’ later career he made frequent summer trips to Woodstock, New York and the Matinicus Islands in Maine, where he painted seascapes and landscapes. Bellows continued to exhibit and make cameo-teaching appearances in New York City and Chicago, until the end of his life.


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