Saturday, November 3, 2012
The Softer Side of New York City Ashcan Artist George Wesley Bellows 1882-1925
When I think of Ohio-born George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925), I conjure up mental images of paintings of violent boxing matches & gritty street scenes in New York City. These compositions were the core of his early work. Bellows had left Ohio State University in 1904, just before he was to graduate & moved to New York City to study art. Bellows was soon a student of Robert Henri at the New York School of Art, where he became associated with Henri's "The Eight" & the Ashcan School, a group of artists who advocated painting contemporary American society in all its forms. By 1906, a successful Bellows was renting his own studio. However, less than a decade later, many of Bellows' portraits focused on women, with his wife Emma & their two daughters being frequent subjects. In these paintings, he displayed an increasingly theoretical approach to color & design, a marked departure from the fluid muscularity of his early work.