Tag: George Bellows

Art and Ice Cream: Q&A with Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni Britton Bauer

Recently we caught up with Jeni Britton Bauer, James Beard award-winning cookbook author and founder of Columbus-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to get her take on art, thinking like an artist, and her inspiration for creating an ice cream tribute to George Bellows.

Why does art matter to you?
Art answers the emotional Why? When I dig deep to find out, I gain new perspective. It’s time travel.  Why this? Why that? Why now? Why him?

What role does art play in your life?
It expands into the cracks and fills the gaps. Art helps me draw conclusions and make connections. When I think, I use all parts of my brain. It’s like when you work out, if you worked only one arm, you would have one big arm and one small one. Artistic thinking, which is not necessarily creative thinking, is a vital part of my thought process.

In ice cream I use art thinking when I decide what I’ll do with, say, a raspberry. Raspberries are a beautiful and perfect fruit in color, texture and flavor. There is nothing better than a raspberry and nothing you can add to a raspberry to make it more perfect. I can honor a raspberry by making a sorbet with as little else as possible. Just a bit of sugar. Pulverized. This is art because I have chosen to leave it almost in it’s original form. If I added tarragon to it, or mint, or even honey, which seem like fine things to do, I would have distracted the flavor. Because you can’t make a raspberry better or even more interesting. However, in a sorbet form, rather than a whole raspberry, the flavor is pink-red, and surprisingly grassy, a little tart and a bit sweet, a tiny bit biting and bitter. Things you may not even notice when chomping on a fresh berry.

Anything that a raspberry touches is given a kick in the pants. Think of a simple cake with raspberry sorbet melting into the crumb, or a rich chocolate cake. A scoop of dense raspberry sorbet plopped into a cup of Watershed gin with a sprig of lavender hanging off the rim (you smell it as you bring it to your nose), is the ice and the mixer in a fresh cocktail I call Rouge Your Knees. I can make fresh raspberries into a sauce and swirl it through a soft farmstead cheese ice cream. Raspberries become a tool in my ice cream arsenal to make softer flavors sing. I may use the sorbet to pop other flavors, but I’ll never add something other than a touch of sugar to the raspberries. They are perfect already.

Art answers why. Just because you put something together, should you? If you ask yourself this question about everything you do, art will play a big part of your life, too.

How are food and art alike?
They are both essential for survival.

What about George Bellows inspires you?
I am lucky to have seen the Bellows show at the National Gallery in Washington D.C and again at the Met in NYC. To see so many of his pieces here in his hometown is really wonderful. To see the paintings all together was life changing to me. I truly fell for George Bellows. I spent hours visiting the paintings. I jumped into them, especially the New York scenes. I love to compare his work to Winslow Homer, another of my favorite painters. I think that George Bellows’ work is edgier, it’s tougher, it’s bolder, and harder to take in, and that’s what makes it so strong for me. You can read his faces in his portraits. You can smell the air in his landscapes. You can feel the salt on your cheeks when you see the spray of the wave in his seascapes. And you begin to feel what his subjects felt. Some were suffering or struggling and the way he paints them you feel their struggles. Often the faces are smudges of many colors of paint, but they come through vividly, as if I know them personally. I also love the colors that are in each painting. If you look closely you will find may colors.


Tell us about how you created the George Bellows flavor
My great grandparents had a big old house in Maine that I visited when I was 9 years old. It had secret passages behind walls, the kind where you pull the candlestick and the wall opens up. Those passages were hiding spots and escape routes on one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad. You could get all the way out to the back of the property through the wall of the living room. When you emerged, you would be in the middle of an old graveyard. Spooky. That summer I spent time frolicking in the cold New England waters. I ate salt water taffy, iced coffee and lobster for the first time. There is something about Maine that I got a glimpse of that summer that has stayed with me all these years, and that I revisit in Bellows’ paintings of the sea, especially the painting Churn and Break, which also has a name that sounds like an ice cream flavor. The sea churns, the ice cream churns.

It’s not just the sea that is salty, it’s the air. I wanted the ice cream to taste like salt water taffy. And we use salt from the sea, so the ice cream has that flavor. The cookies are colored to match specific parts of the waves. Inside you will find a fresh plum sauce. They are in season in Ohio, so it’s good timing, but it also adds the deep purple color of the rocks in the painting. I also think that plums have a salty scent to them. That’s hard to imagine, but it’s true. Even plum blossoms smell salty to me. So Sea Salt and Plum Jam was my tribute to George Bellows’ painting Churn and Break.


How does the Columbus community incubate creativity?
I make a distinction between art and creativity. Creativity has very little to do with art. You can be an artist and not be an especially creative thinker (as my raspberry example above). But, I’m not convinced that you can be a scientist without being a creative thinker. So let’s all agree that creativity is very important. It’s important for artists, scientists, mathletes, farmers, chefs, and moms and dads. If you can’t think creatively then you rob yourself and your community of the ability to change the world.

When you encounter a brick wall, you may turn around. I see potential in a brick wall, I see opportunity. Sometimes I can get over it, sometimes I can knock it down. And I get to reap the benefits of what’s on the other side. Creativity is seeing potential and opportunity where others don’t.

So how do we nurture this in Columbus? We are lucky to have such incredible art museums, fountains, parks, devoted musicians, and playthings. We are lucky to have artists living here and to have entire districts devoted to art. But let’s do better because it’s important. Kids used to learn to draw in school. Really draw. Now we don’t. Drawing is important because it can help you explain things to people. It can help you work through a problem. I think everyone should learn to draw. It’s like I said above, if you only learned math and science then it’s like a body builder who only works out one arm and one leg. We have to do a better job nurturing whole brain thinkers. That has to start in kindergarten and before. Art incubates creative thinking because it forces you to move emotions and thoughts through your body and finger tips and transpose them onto paper, canvas, or other mediums.

Who are some of your favorite artists?
Frank Stella, George Bellows, Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, and my daughter Greta.

George Bellows and the American Experience will remain on view at CMA through January 4, 2014. Jeni’s Sea Salt and Plum Jam Bellows-inspired ice cream will be served exclusively at our annual Art Celebration and ArtFUSION on October 19, 2013.

Art of Concern Symposium: George Bellows Revisited

Cornfield and Harvest

Our annual symposium on American art, inspired by the Museum’s acquisition of the Philip and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art 1930–1970, attracts top scholars from around the world. Each year the symposium focuses on a particular theme. This year in conjunction with our George Bellows and the American Experience exhibition, we focus on groundbreaking American painter George Bellows, a Columbus native. The symposium takes place November 7–9, 2013, and also includes the Keith and Nadine Pierce Annual Lecture in American Art featuring music from Bellows’ time, and our annual Cunningham lecture, Reviewing George Bellows: The Critical Response with Charles Brock, Associate Curator of American and British Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Admission to the symposium is $40 for CMA members, $80 for non-members, and free to students. Registration is not required, but is highly recommended. Art of Concern Tickets here or, call (614) 629-0359 with your credit card information.

This symposium is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Art of Concern Schedule

George and Emma Bellows: The Music in their Lives
The Keith and Nadine Pierce Annual Lecture in American Art
November 7, 7:00 PM
Pianist Leslie Amper is the featured performer for this year’s Keith and Nadine Annual Lecture in American Art. During an invigorating musical performance, Amper will offer a slice of the soundtrack to George Bellows’ era. In conjunction with CMA’s exhibition of the works of the American painter and our symposium focusing on the artist’s concerns, the performance by Amper will feature music from the first quarter of the 20th century when George Bellows was active. Selections by George Gershwin, who knew the couple, Chopin, and Charles Ives will also be featured. A conversation about music in the lives of the Bellows family and a screening of D.W. Griffiths silent film New York Hat with live accompaniment will follow the performance.

Thanks to the generosity of Keith and Nadine Pierce, this performance is free and open to the public. All are welcome and registration is requested. Please call 614.629.0359 to reserve your seat.

Friday, November 8

9:00 – 10:00    Coffee and Registration

10:00 – 10:15  Introduction
Nannette V. Maciejunes, Executive Director, Columbus Museum of Art
Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art, Columbus Museum of Art

10:15 – 10:45  Cunningham Lecture Reviewing George Bellows: The Critical Response
Charles Brock, Associate Curator of American and British Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

10:45 – 11:00  Audience Q&A

11:00 – 11:30  Canonizing George Bellows, “The Fair-Haired Boy of American Art”
Randall Griffey, Associate Curator of Modern American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

11:30 – 12:00  Audience Q&A

12:00 – 1:30    Lunch

1:30 – 2:00      Bellows – Hopper: Crossed Destiny
Didier Ottinger, Deputy Director of the National Centre for Art and Culture Georges Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France

2:00 – 2:15      Audience Q&A

2:15 – 2:45      George Bellows’s Blues (and other Colors)
Douglas Tallack, Professor of American Studies and Vice-President (International), University of Leicester, United Kingdom

2:45 – 3:00      Audience Q&A

3:00 – 5:00      Open Discussion, George Bellows and the American Experience Galleries
Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio

Saturday, November 9

9:00 – 10:00    Coffee and Registration

10:00 – 10:30  Abjection and Violence in Bellows’s Ashcan Painting
David Peters Corbett, Professor of Art History and American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

10:30 – 10:45  Audience Q&A

10:45 – 11:15 The Sound of Saving Souls: George Bellows, Billy Sunday, and Religious Hyperbole
Leo Mazow, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

11:15 – 11:30  Audience Q&A

11:30 – 12:00  George Bellows and the Complication of Race
Martin Berger, Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz

12:00 – 12:15  Audience Q&A

12:15 – 1:30    Lunch

1:30 – 2:00      George Bellows and Hugo Reisinger: A Study of Patronage
Suzanne Scharf, Doctoral Candidate, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

2:00 – 2:15      Audience Q&A

2:15 – 2:45      From Realism to Idealism: Bellows Goes to War
David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 2:45 – 3:00      Audience Q&A

3:00 – 3:30      Fraternal Hazing and other Violent Rituals
John Fagg, Professor of American and Canadian Studies, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

3:30 – 3:45      Audience Q&A

3:45 – 4:00      Closing Remarks
Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art, Columbus Museum of Art

Can’t make the symposium? Watch it live here starting at 10 AM November 8 and November 9.

Speaker Biographies:

Leslie Amper studied at Oberlin College and with Russell Sherman at New England Conservatory. Currently, she teaches at Wheaton College, New England Conservatory Preparatory and Longy School of Music of Bard College. A winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship Grant, Ms. Amper has been invited to perform on Monadnock Music’s Virtuoso Piano Series, Emmanuel Music solo and chamber music celebrations of Schumann, Beethoven, and Harbison, Pittsburgh Symphony Concerts at the Point, Friday Musicale of Jacksonville, Florida, New Hampshire Music Festival, Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation Concerts, as well as in London, England, Strada Italy, and Modling Austria. A member of the Jubilee Trio and the Alcyon Chamber Ensemble, she has recorded for Brave and Neuma Records; her recording of Andrew Imbrie’s Short Story was selected for the international radio broadcast “Art of the States.” Ms. Amper toured the United States with her lecture/piano recital related the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Exhibition 1934: A New Deal for Artists. Other lecture/recitals related to art exhibitions have been presented at the National Gallery of Art (Cine-Concert in honor of George Bellows), The Phoenix Art Museum (Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse), and The Frick Art and Historical Society (Off the Pedestal: New Women in the Art of Homer, Chase, and Sargent), and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (The Sound of Color: Debussy and the Visual Arts; Ann Allen lecturer). Leslie Amper was invited by the cutting edge theater director Peter Sellars to be an onstage pianist playing Scriabin in his American National Theater production in Washington, D.C. of Chekhovʼs A Seagull.

Martin A. Berger is professor of History of Art and Visual Culture and the founding director of the Visual Studies graduate program at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1987 with a B.A. in English and Art History.  He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1995. Professor Berger has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, Stanford Humanities Center, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.  He is the author of Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age Manhood (2000), Sight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture (2005), and Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography (2011).  His exhibition catalogue, Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle, will be published this fall.

Charles Brock is associate curator of American and British paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and was the organizing curator for the recent George Bellows retrospective.  For over two decades Mr. Brock has contributed to the Gallery’s national and international exhibitions of American and British art.  The list begins in the early 1990s with the major retrospectives James McNeill Whistler (seen at Tate Gallery in 1994) and Winslow Homer (1995).  From 1996 to 2002 Brock served as research associate in the National Gallery’s department of photographs where he collaborated with Sarah Greenough on the landmark exhibition Modern Art in America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries (2001).  After returning to the department of American and British paintings Brock curated Across Media in 2006, a critically acclaimed show on the early American modernist painter, photographer, and filmmaker, Charles Sheeler.  First-generation American modernists have been the primary focus of Brock’s scholarship.  In addition to his work on Bellows and Sheeler, he has contributed to numerous other publications devoted to the early American avant-garde including The Eye of Duncan Phillips: A Collection in the Making (The Phillips Collection, 1999), Twentieth-Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection (2000), A Century of Drawing: Works on Paper from Degas to LeWitt (2001), Eye Contact: Modern American Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery (2002), and American Modernism: The Shein Collection (2009).

David Peters Corbett is Professor of Art History and American Studies. He has written widely on British and American painting between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, most recently in An American Experiment: George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters (exhibition catalogue, National Gallery, London, 2011), in articles on Charles Sheeler in the Journal of American Studies (45:3) and on Frederic Church and Theodore Winthrop in The European Journal of American Culture (30:1), and, as co-editor with Dr. Sarah Monks (UEA), in Anglo-American: Artistic Relations between Britain and the US from Colonial Times to the Present, a special issue of the journal Art History (31:3). He is currently working on a book, ‘Urban Painting and the Landscape Tradition in America, 1850-1930’, which deals with the relationship between the mid-nineteenth century landscape tradition and the painting of the cities which came to form a central strand of US modernism later in the century.

John Fagg teaches in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on processes of cultural change in American literature and visual art in the decades around 1900. He is the author of On the Cusp: Stephen Crane, George Bellows and Modernism (Tuscaloosa, 2009) and recent articles on Saturday Evening Post covers for American Art and the 1930s genre painting revival in The Space Between. He is currently working on a book on early twentieth century American genre painting.

Randall R. Griffey is Associate Curator of Modern American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  He writes primarily on American painting from 1900 to 1945.  Much of his work has focused on the painter and poet Marsden Hartley.  In 2011, Griffey contributed “Reconsidering ‘The Soil’: The Stieglitz Circle, Regionalism, and Cultural Eugenics in the 1920s” to the catalogue accompanying the Brooklyn Museum’s traveling exhibition Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties.  From 2008 to 2012, Griffey served as Curator of American Art at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.  Prior to Amherst, he was the Associate Curator of American Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

David Lubin, the Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, is the author of several books, including Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James; Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America; Titanic; and Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images, which won the 2004 Eldredge Prize from the Smithsonian American Art Museum for “distinguished scholarship in American art.” Growing up in Bexley, he was a frequent visitor to the Columbus Museum of Art.

Leo Mazow, a specialist in American art and cultural history, came to the University of Arkansas in 2010 after eight years as curator of American art at the Palmer Museum of Art at The Pennsylvania State University. Among the exhibitions and accompanying publications he organized are Taxing Visions: Financial Episodes in Late Nineteenth-Century American Art; Picturing the Banjo; Arneson and the Object; and Shallow Creek: Thomas Hart Benton and American Waterways. Dr. Mazow has published articles on Regionalism, New York Dada, and American landscape painting in such journals as Art Bulletin, American Art, and Winterthur Portfolio. His book, Thomas Hart Benton and the American Sound, published in Spring 2012 by Penn State University Press, was supported by a Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, administered by the College Art Association, and by a senior fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He presented a lecture on communication imagery in American art at the Musée du Louvre in February 2013. His current project is entitled Hopper’s Hotels: Edward Hopper and the Promise of American Mobility.

Dider Ottinger is the deputy director of the National Centre for Art and Culture Georges Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art in Paris. He has published numerous works on artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Max Beckmann, Philip Guston, and Otto Dix. In 2005, he served as a guest curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in 2010 he was a Terra Foundation Senior Fellow.  He has organized a wide variety of exhibitions in France and overseas, and his recent retrospective on Edward Hopper at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais received great critical and popular attention.

Susanne Scharf is a doctoral candidate at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, from which she also received her M.A. in American studies and art history. She also holds a Diploma in American Studies from Smith College. From 2007 to 2009, she was assistant curator at the Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, where she helped to organize and contributed to the catalogues of the exhibitions “High Society:  American Portraits of the Gilded Age” and “Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time.” Since 2010, she has worked as an assistant professor in the Departments of English and American Studies at Hamburg University and Goethe University, Frankfurt. In 2011, she held a Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

Douglas Tallack is Professor of American Studies and Vice-President (International) at the University of Leicester, UK.  Professor Tallack formerly held similar posts at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he was responsible for its off-shore campuses in China and Malaysia. Professor Tallack’s books are: Global Cities/Local Sites (editor); New York Sights: Visualizing Old and New New York; City Sites: Multi-Media Essays on New York and Chicago (editor); Critical Theory: A Reader (editor); The Nineteenth-Century American Short Story: Language, Form and Ideology; Twentieth-Century America; and Literary Theory at Work (editor).  He has twice won the Arthur Miller Prize for the best American Studies article of the year and co-directed the 3Cities project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. He holds honorary guest professorships at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and Shanghai International Studies University, and was the Grolier Club (New York) Fellow (2008). Professor Tallack’s public service includes membership of the UK Government’s Marshall Commission, the Advisory Board of the Observatory for Borderless Education, the UK-China Task Force, the British Council Advisory Panel on UK/US Higher Education, various joint-venture boards, as well as local school and college governing bodies.

(Above: Cornfield and Harvest by George Bellows)

What Do These Paintings Have in Common?


Here’s a hint: This weekend is the 100th anniversary of the first Armory Show. You may have heard the Armory story on NPR recently. Still need more help?

You know I’m always saying that art transforms lives. The 1913 Armory Show was one of those transformational moments for art in the United States, but also for the Columbus Museum of Art. This is the art event that changed Ferdinand Howald’s life—turning him into a collector and an art patron. Howald’s collection went on to form the heart of our internationally renowned Modernist Collection. It literally transformed our destiny.

Now about those two paintings above. Both were in the 1913 Armory Show! The one on the right is Middleton Manigault’s Clown which we acquired in 1999. Manigault was the first artist that Howald purchased. The painting on the left is George Bellows’s Mrs. Albert M. Miller—for long-time Columbusites, she was Dixie Miller’s mother-in-law. Bellows entered the portrait in the Armory Show only two months after painting it. We acquired it in 1974 from the Arnold family.

And that’s the rest of the story.

- Nannette

Art Madness

Introducing Art Madness, our version of March Madness for Art Lovers. To put together our bracket we selected some of our most beloved pieces from four of our strongest collections, as well as a few sleepers. It’s Photography versus Contemporary. Europeans versus the Americans. The Renaissance Region versus the Impressionism Region. Ashcan School Region versus Abstract Expressionism Region. Who will be a bracket buster? Who will come from behind and be the Cinderella of Art Madness? Who will be crowned the Art Madness champion? That’s all up to you. Each day we’ll have a new pairing on Facebook. The artwork with the most likes by the next day at noon will advance on to the next round.

Want to keep track of the winners? Download the Art Madness Bracket.

Please note: just like the NCAA Tournament, the Region a team competes in may be different. i.e. O’Keeffe is not a Renaissance painter. That’s just the region she’s competing in.


A Lady with a Parrot and a Gentleman with a Monkey
by Caspar NetscherDutch portrait artist Netscher’s work is often cited as
a perennial fan favorite among the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection. Here he uses the penchant for symbolism to great effect: oysters as aphrodisiacs, a feather to indicate pleasure, a monkey to indicate lust.

Autumn Leaves – Lake George, N.Y.
by Georgia O’KeeffePerhaps the most famous female artist of all time, O’Keeffe is a strong contender to win the Big Dance. She changed the art world with her emphasis on color, shape, clean lines, and close-ups that fell somewhere between representation and abstraction like this painting of leaves from her summer home with her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

Sidewalk Clock, NYC
by Ida Wyman

Wyman was one of the nearly 100 female photographers of the Photo League, the pioneering documentary photo movement of the 1930s and 1940s. Here Wyman captures the movement and rhythm of the city. Analysis: really knows how to pace her game.

Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped
by Henry Moore

England’s most famous sculptor is known for his sometimes surreal and sensuous sculptures like this iconic piece on the front lawn of the Columbus Museum of Art. Talk about tough: this art can withstand snow, sleet, and heavy winds, and may be hard to beat down the stretch.

Playing Cards and Glass of Beer
by Juan GrisSpanish painter, sculptor, compatriot of Picasso, Gris, was one of one of the founding members of the Cubism movement. Here Gris really pulls his team together with a collage-style painting constructed of real objects combined with painted ones.

Polo at Lakewood
by George BellowsColumbus homeboy Bellows, an OSU athlete and one of the preeminent artists of the Ashcan School, was known for depicting scenes of action like this one, where his slashing brushstrokes contrast with the genteel nature of the crowd. Like his Ohio State alma mater he’s likely to go far in the tournament.

Nocturne Navigator
by Alison SaarThe “Blue Lady” as this artwork is nicknamed, was commissioned by the Columbus Museum of Art as a commemoration to the Underground Railroad. It’s a powerhouse piece beloved by the Columbus community.

Coney Island
by Sid GrossmanGrossman advanced his passion for photography through the Photo League, the pioneering documentary photography movement he founded. He was often cited for his belief that photography could change the world. Grossman’s work (as well as Wyman’s) will be on display as part of our upcoming Radical Camera exhibition, which the New York Times calls “stirring.”

The Swimmer
by Yasuo KuniyoshiJapanese American Kuniyoshi takes his cue from the strong lines and low key colors of 18th- and 19th- century Japanese art. The swimmer is an allusion to bas reliefs of ancient Egypt and Assyria in which sea nymphs often swim among water plants. Will this piece swim its way to victory?

The Breakfast
by Edgar DegasMaster draftsman and Impressionist Degas explored with intensity and pleasure the potential of pastel for spontaneous, sensuous expression. This piece from our renowned Sirak Collection may be quiet and peaceful, however in the art world it remains a beloved, tough contender.

by Henri Cartier-BressonFrench photographer Bresson began as a Cubist painter, and was drawn into the circle of the French surrealists. He’s definitely a clutch player, able to capture what he calls “the decisive moment,” as in this photograph where the boys appear to be enveloped in graffiti.

A Street Called Home
by Aminah RobinsonHometown hero and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Aminah Robinson combines traditional art materials with found objects and everyday materials such as buttons, cloth, leather, twigs, shells, and music box workings. She often works on pieces she calls RagGonNons, art that often takes years to research and continues to evolve as others respond to the works. Home court advantage: Robinson.

Composition with Flames
by Jackson PollockPassionate Pollock revolutionized the art world with his Abstract Expressionist style. The man put his whole body into his painting, which eventually became known as Action Painting. Enough said.

Jill and I
by Tina BarneyConsider Barney the Harvard of the art world. Barney portrays intimate portraits of upper class family and friends like in this haunting photograph. Will Barney and her work be the Cinderella story of Art Madness?

by George TookerTooker’s paintings were often psychologically charged, haunting, and mysterious. He was known as a magic realist combining real life with fantasy. Does Tooker’s work have what it takes to go all the way?

Schokko with a Red Hat
by Alexaj JawlenskyJawlensky was a former Russian army officer turned Expressionist painter, and key member of the Blue Rider, an influential group of Russian emigrants and German artists in the early 1900s that also included Jawlensky’s compatriot Kandinsky. Schokko may just ride all the way to victory.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

12 for 12

In honor of the Columbus Bicentennial, each month throughout 2012 we will highlight a local Columbus artist from the Museum’s collection. Look for “12 for 12″ blog posts each month, plus follow us on Facebook and Twitter for interesting tidbits about the artists’ life and work. To kick things off we’re starting with George Bellows.

George Wesley Bellows (1882 – 1925) was arguably the most celebrated American painter of his generation. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he attended The Ohio State University, where he played on the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Bellows left Columbus in 1904 to study art in New York City, quickly becoming associated with the charismatic artist Robert Henri and his artistic group later characterized by the term Ashcan School. Bellows’ work exemplified Henri’s call to depict the experience of the everyday, often gritty working-class, world around him.  “It seems to me,” he wrote, “that an artist must be a spectator of life: a reverential, enthusiastic, emotional spectator, and then the great dramas of human nature will surge through his mind.”  The artist’s facile brushwork perfectly conveyed the teeming vitality and heady brashness of human and natural drama.

By his mid-twenties, Bellows had risen from art student to art luminary, winning nearly every major award in the art world, and becoming a member of the prestigious National Academy at the young age of twenty-seven. His dazzling career, however, was brief; he died tragically at the age of forty-three from a ruptured appendix. In his short professional life, Bellows created an enormous body of work that includes more than seven hundred paintings, almost two hundred editions of lithographs, and an equal number of drawings. He is celebrated equally for his seascapes, portraits, city snow scenes, and socially engaged genre, as he is for his depictions of working-class urban life. The Columbus Museum of Art has one of the largest and most important collections of works by Bellows in the world.