George Bellows (American, 1882 - 1925)
1921. Oil on canvas, 15 1/4 x 21 3/4". 2002.018.001
The Columbus Museum of Art holds the largest public collection of paintings and a very significant collection of lithographs (including the boxing pictures) by Columbus native George Bellows. Bellows became the premier realist painter of his generation and the most accomplished American lithographer of the first half of the twentieth century. He attended the Ohio State University, where he played varsity basketball and baseball and illustrated the yearbook. In 1904, he moved to New York City to study art. Bellows was known for his bold and energetic brushwork. He was closely associated with members of a loosely defined group that critics—not very accurately— named the Ashcan school. These artists were committed to painting contemporary urban life, and Bellows painted subjects that ranged from the life and struggles of the poor to the sporting events and fashionable parks of the rich. His work was widely appreciated, and in 1913 he was simultaneously elected to the conservative National Academy of Design and chosen to exhibit in the revolutionary Armory Show of modern art.