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George Bellows: Sport, Leisure, and Lithography

This exhibition explores the role of sport and physical culture in the lithographs of George Bellows (1882–1925). Bellows, an esteemed early 20th-century realist, is often classified as an Ashcan artist due to the gritty subject matter he usually portrays. Well known for paintings that capture the dynamism and prosaic aspects of urban environments with dark palettes and painterly modeling of form, he achieved similar compositional effects in his vast body of work in lithography. In 1916 he installed a lithography press in his studio, and from then until his untimely death in 1925, he created just under 200 lithographs. Bellows understood that the monochromatic nature of the medium—its striking contrasts of light and shadow—made it an effective means through which to explore the strenuous activities and pastimes so prized by the artist. The strenuous activities of Bellows’s bodies in motion are enhanced by the unique aesthetic of lithography that shows the results of the artist’s hand at work.
Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century, Lithography

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