Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Art of George Wesley Bellows

     American realist painter, George Wesley Bellows was born in August, 1882, somewhere between the 12th and the 19th, in Columbus Ohio. He was best known for his bold and hard-edged depictions of New York City urban life. The Columbus (Ohio) Museum of Art labeled Bellows "the most acclaimed American artist of his generation." He was part of the Ashcan Movement and a member of the elite artist group,"Eight." 

     George was the only child of older parents. His father was fifty and his mother, the daughter of a famous whaling captain, was forty at the time of his birth. He went to school in Columbus, and attended the Ohio State University from 1901 to 1904, where he played both baseball and basketball, as well as illustrated the student yearbook. He was drafted by a minor baseball league team and everyone expected him to become a professional baseball player, but one week before his graduation ceremony, he packed up everything he owned and moved to New York City to study painting. He rented a small studio on Broadway and began painting gritty, contemporary works of art 
depicting life in the big city.  His work was described as crudely painted, but daring and chaotic scenes of working class people and their neighborhoods.  His human figures possess a strong sense of movement and direction. His paintings were called grimy, rough, and dark.  His prize fight paintings were his most sought-after pieces of work.

Later he collaborated with Master Painter Bolton Brown on a huge number, well over one hundred, of lithographs.  George Wesley Bellows died on Jan. 8, 1925 in New York City at the age of 42.

He was devoted to his wife and daughters and they became the focus of his work in his last year.  These pieces were characterized by a softer, gentler approach to color and design.

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