Home » Review » Currently Reading:

Royal Academy stages retrospective of neglected US artist George Bellows

March 13, 2013 Review No Comments

20130313 170122 Royal Academy stages retrospective of neglected US artist George Bellows

A detail from George Bellows’s 1909 painting Stag at Sharkey’s, showing a clandestine boxing match on Broadway. Photograph: The Cleveland Museum of Art

poweredbyguardianBLACK Royal Academy stages retrospective of neglected US artist George BellowsThis article titled “Royal Academy stages retrospective of neglected US artist George Bellows” was written by Mark Brown , for The Guardian on Tuesday 12th March 2013 17.46 UTC

The Royal Academy will on Saturday open the first retrospective in the UK of works by George Bellows, an artist who never quite became the household name many believe he should be.

The exhibition has boxers energetically clattering the living daylights out of each other, German first world war soldiers dispassionately severing the hands of a young Belgian and a horrifying image of an African American being burned alive by a mob. “At the end of the show there are some lovely portraits of women,” promised the co-curator Ann Dumas to anyone ground down by the violence. “There was another side to him.”

One barrier to fame for Bellows was dying young, from appendicitis aged 42 in 1925. After his death the obituaries proclaimed Bellows one of the greatest of all American painters – a man more famous at the time than his friend and contemporary Edward Hopper.

Now British audiences will be able to see what Bellows was all about with an exhibition of 71 works of art that will include his most famous painting, Stag at Sharkey’s, from 1909, which shows a clandestine boxing match at a members’ club on Broadway.

“It is an amazingly energetic and visceral painting. The composition is so powerful,” said Dumas. “Flash forward and you think of Francis Bacon almost. He must have painted it quite quickly because it has so much gusto and the way that the paint is applied, you think the brush can hardly have left the canvas.”

Bellows was one of a number of painters depicting life as it was, the desperation and diversity and grittiness of life in New York as it emerged into the 20th century. Except Bellows pushed it further and Stag at Sharkey’s in particular established him “as a really gutsy, formidable force as a painter on the New York scene. I think people were very shocked by the works. There really hadn’t been anything like this in American painting before.”

Bellows is known for his boxing paintings even though he probably only did about six out of 700 or more works.

He is also known for his social conscience, and the show includes lithographs he did for leftwing publications and a small room of paintings showing German atrocities in the first world war.

Dumas said Bellows was a macho guy and a kind of a tough “all-American” painter. But “I hope this exhibition shows that he’s more complex than that, he’s more layered and he knew a great deal about European Old Master painting.”

• George Bellows (1882-1925): Modern American Life is at the RA 16 March – 9 June

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

20130313 170058 Royal Academy stages retrospective of neglected US artist George Bellows

FAD NEWS

Daniel’s Value and Ideas #41: A Polke in the Eye

October 31, 2014

Daniel’s Value and Ideas #41: A Polke in the Eye

The career of Sigmar Polke is the restless search for the optimum means of expressing the truth of the static past in the fluid present.

Winners of Young Masters Art Prize 2014 Announced

October 30, 2014

Winners of Young Masters Art Prize 2014 Announced

Juergen Wolf and Matt Smith announced as winners of the Young Masters Art Prize and Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2014

Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled

October 30, 2014

Flying car approaches liftoff as most advanced prototype yet is unveiled

Its almost here ! At last the Flying Car !!

ART NEWS: ‘Stolen to order’ theft from a young and vibrant contemporary art gallery in the heart of London.

October 30, 2014

ART NEWS: ‘Stolen to order’ theft from a young and vibrant contemporary art gallery in the heart of London.

On the evening of Saturday (25th October) FOLD Gallery London, a young commercial gallery in Clerkenwell, was the victim of what appears to be a ‘steal to order’ theft of four sculptures by popular young artist Tim Ellis.

INTERVIEW: Peter Peri : I holed up in a garage in Roehampton for five years, painting on my own.

October 29, 2014

INTERVIEW: Peter Peri :  I holed up in a garage in Roehampton for five years, painting on my own.

So I’m heading to Hackney to see the English artist Peter Peri for a studio visit / interview.
He’s about to have his first solo show in Asia with one of the region’s biggest galleries, Pearl Lam.

Louise Hearman wins 2014 Moran prize, Australia’s richest portrait award

October 29, 2014

Louise Hearman wins 2014 Moran prize, Australia’s richest portrait award

Painter’s portrait of photographer Bill Henson takes $150,000 Moran prize, which attracted more entries than the Archibald

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 79: ‘Battle of the Behemoths’

October 29, 2014

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 79: ‘Battle of the Behemoths’

London currently features something of a battle of the German behemoths.

FAD DAILY

FAD DAILY

Want brilliant, exciting and interesting art and culture news in your inbox every day? Course you do. Sign up to our newsletter below.

ADVERTISING