Interpretive Resource

Artist Biography: George Wesley Bellows

A concise biography about Bellows's life and work.

National Gallery of Art. Micro Gallery—National Gallery of Art. Online Content. Washington, D.C., 2004.

George Bellows
American, 1882-1925
During his lifetime, Bellows was widely celebrated as a quintessential American painter. His scenes of contemporary urban life, painted with lively brushwork, were seen as the embodiment of American energy.

Perhaps best known for his boxing scenes, such as Club Night and Both Members of This Club, Bellows also painted other sporting subjects, landscapes, figures, and portraits. Compared to European avant-garde painters, the artist was conservative; nevertheless he inspired a generation of younger American artists.

Using the money he earned playing semi-professional baseball, Bellows moved to New York in 1904 to study painting. His teacher Robert Henri advocated direct observation, rapid execution, and dark tonal harmonies in the portrayal of urban subjects. By 1907 Bellows had achieved critical and commercial success; he was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design at age twenty-eight. Six years later, Bellows was one of the organizers of the 1913 Armory Show in New York. Bellows' later compositions are often more formally structured, the brushwork less pronounced, and the colors more sharply contrasted.

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Education

High School

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