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George Bellows

BELLOWS Polo at Lakewood

George Bellows and the American Experience
August 23, 2013 – January 5, 2014

The Columbus Museum of Art celebrates one of the city’s best loved native sons with George Bellows and the American Experience, on view August 23, 2013 – January 5, 2014. The exhibition highlights the importance of CMA’s Bellows collection, widely recognized as the best in the world, and showcases the artist’s vibrant, groundbreaking works. Bellows and the American Experience brings together more than 35 of his most stunning works from museums and private collections throughout the United States. The world of his paintings comes to life through period photographs, descriptions by his friends, thoughts from his own record book, as well as caricatures and conservation studies.

“For the past year our Bellows paintings have traveled the world as part of a major retrospective that drew crowds to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Royal Academy in London,” said CMA Curator of American Art Melissa Wolfe.  “We’re excited to welcome them home and to be able to celebrate the profound impact George Bellows had, and continues to have, on the art world.”

George Wesley Bellows, one of the country’s most celebrated 20th-century artists, is especially known for his controversial boxing images and evocative urban scenes. His career, although brief, was dazzling. An avid athlete, Bellows played shortstop for the Buckeyes before leaving Columbus in 1904 to study art in New York City. Within five years the young artist had taken the American art world by storm, winning every major award and rising from art student to acclaimed luminary.

He was a college dropout at 22, a member of the prestigious National Academy at 27, the country’s most important lithographer at 35, and tragically dead from a ruptured appendix at 43. In these 21 years of professional life, Bellows created an enormous body of work that conveyed his lively sense of humor, his seemingly effortless talent, and his political and social sensibilities. Bellows captured the essence of his subjects and delivered it to his viewers with perception, compassion, and, occasionally outrage.

Related Programs

George Bellows Tours
Check our calendar for Bellows-themed Learning to Look and Inside Story tours of George Bellows and the American Experience.

George Bellows Family Reunion
September 19, 2013, 2:00 PM
Learn more about George Bellows from his grandchildren Marianne and Michael Kearney and feel like one of the family during this lively conversation. This program is included with admission, free for members. Please contact pam.thomas@cmaohio.org to reserve your seat.

George Bellows in Columbus
October 24, 2013, 7:00 PM
Bellows is widely considered the greatest American artist of his generation. His paintings are recognized for their incredible brushwork and psychological insight. Bellows remained close to the Columbus community even after moving to New York City, and many of the images discussed in this talk reveal his love of family and friends from his hometown. Join CMA Curator of American Art Melissa Wolfe for this talk at the Museum, part of a series with the Columbus Historical Society. $10 for non-members and FREE for CMA and Columbus Historical Society Members. For questions, please call 614.629.0359 Register here.

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.

Art of Concern Symposium: George Bellows Revisited
November 7-9, 2013
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 2013 Art of Concern Symposium, “George Bellows Revisited,” takes place November 8-9, 2013. In conjunction with the symposium, The Keith and Nadine Pierce Annual Lecture on American Art, which features a performance by Leslie Amper, will take place November 7. 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, opens the Bellows’ symposium on November 8. Full Art of Concern Symposium schedule and speakers.

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.


George Bellows and the American Experience is supported by the Friends of Bellows and media sponsor Ohio Magazine.