National Gallery of Art Washington announces George Bellows exhibition

The National Gallery of Art in Washington presents the first Comprehensive exhibition in three decades of George Bellows Prolific Career, on view June 10 through October 8, 2012.

When George Bellows died at the age of 42 in 1925, he was hailed as one of the greatest artists America had yet produced. The first comprehensive exhibition of his career in more than three decades premieres in Washington, DC, from June 10 through October 8, 2012. George Bellows includes some 130 paintings, drawings, and lithographs of tenement children, boxers, and the urban landscape of New York, as well as Maine seascapes, sports images, World War I subjects, family portraits, and Woodstock, NY, scenes.

George Bellows, Both Members of This Club, 1909, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Collection

“George Bellows is arguably the most important figure in the generation of artists who negotiated the transition from the Victorian to the modern era in American culture,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “This exhibition provides the most complete account of his achievements to date and will introduce Bellows to new generations.”

The exhibition will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (November 15, 2012–February 18, 2013), and close at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (March 16–June 9, 2013). The accompanying catalogue documents and defines Bellows’ unique place in the history of American art and in the annals of modernism.

The exhibition begins with Bellows’ renowned paintings and drawings of tenement children and New York street scenes. These iconic images of the modern city were made during an extraordinary period of creativity for the artist that began shortly after he left his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for New York in 1904. Encouraged by Henri, his teacher at the New York School of Art, Bellows sought out contemporary subjects that would challenge prevailing standards of taste, depicting the city’s impoverished immigrant population in River Rats (1906, private collection) and Forty-Two Kids (1907, Corcoran Gallery of Art).

In addition to street scenes, Bellows painted more formal studio portraits of New York’s working poor. These startling, frank subjects—such as Paddy Flannigan (1908, Erving and Joyce Wolf)—reflect the artist’s profound understanding of the realist tradition of portraiture practiced by such masters as Diego Velázquez, Frans Hals, Edouard Manet, and James McNeill Whistler.

For information call (202) 737-4215 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (202) 842-6176, or visit the Gallery’s Web site at

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