George Wesley Bellows
(1882 - 1925)
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The Plaid Shawl

Irish Town

George Wesley Bellows has been praised as “the most important heir to the American Ashcan tradition,” and a “master of realist painting … whose rich painting and powerful draftsmanship has had an immeasurable influence on modern American art” (1). Born and raised in Ohio, he travelled to New York City in 1904 and enrolled in classes taught by Robert Henri (1865 - 1929) at William Merritt Chases’s ( 1849 - 1916) New York School of Art. His vigorously executed paintings and sensuous lithographs exhibit a passion for the frank depiction of contemporary life. He is particularly known for his drawings of boxing matches.

Bellows exhibited at the National Academy of Design just one year after he had completed his formal training. He was elected to membership in 1909. Along with Henri, John Sloan (1871 – 1951), and Walt Kuhn (1877 – 1949), he founded the New Society of Artists. He taught life class at the Art Students League, and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He died unexpectedly at the age of forty-five, five years after relocating to Woodstock, New York, due to a ruptured appendix.


1. Author Unknown, “George W. Bellows” in Life, March 25, 1946, 75.

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