Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann reviews the exhibition George Bellows at the Royal Academy of Art, London, on view through June 2013.
Wiedel-Kaufmann writes: "where Hogarth, Goya or Dickens proved at least as critical of the hypocrisy of the higher classes as the depravity of the lower, as we move around the exhibition we realise that Bellows’ brush was not just adept at the fleshy distortions and brutalising carnality but equally capable of genteel delicacy. Be they roamers in central park or the members of his family - the middle class scenes are invariably portrayed with a soft focus and refined elegance that is altogether absent in the downtown scenes (Men of the Docks, 1912 providing a possible exception). All this gives weight to Marianne Doezema’s judgement that it was Bellows’ ability to "combine a 'revolutionary' style with an ingratiating message" that enabled him "to chart a delicate course between resistance and accommodation”, and rather undermines the attempts to claim him as a social realist."
Elizabeth Johnson reports on the exhibition Franz Kline: Coal and Steel at the Allentown Art Museum, PA, on view through January 13, 2013.
Johnson writes: "Highlighting Kline’s childhood and attachment to the industrial Lehigh Valley, Coal and Steel unites Kline’s early realism with his late abstraction, framing the artist’s development within the beautiful but harsh environment we still experience today... Several never-before or rarely-seen urban paintings that Kline made in New York following the Ashcan School and American Precisionist styles sparkle in the exhibition." Johnson continues noting that curator Dr. Robert S. Mattison connects Kline's early work with that of "George Bellows, George Luks and John Sloan, and sees it as foretelling the structure of Kline’s later abstract art. Seeing 'Lower East Side Market,' a lovely, prismatic urban scene made in the Ashcan style, together with 'Chatham Square (circa 1948),' made in the Precisionist style, reveals Kline’s broad search for meaningful subject matter and a personal style."
Philip Koch blogs about the exhibition George Bellows at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., on view through October 8, 2012.
Koch writes that "Bellows was a school mate of... Edward Hopper and Rockwell Kent... at the New York School of Art. All three showed a marked influence from their teacher, the charismatic Robert Henri, whose work was characterized by rapid execution with large brushes and a high sense of pictorial drama. Kent and Hopper gradually moved more away from Henri's style and vision as the years went by, but Bellows seemed to find a more comfortable fit and stayed with the swashbuckling application."
Hilarie M. Sheets reports on the retrospective exhibition of works by of George Bellows at The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., on view through October 8, 2012.
Sheets notes that "curator Charles Brock positions Bellows as a more forward-thinking modernist... 'The boxing pictures could be characterized as a type of Action Painting, 40 years before the term was coined by the critic Harold Rosenberg,' says Brock. 'The movements of the fighters and the physical reality of blood and sinew are virtually indistinguishable from painterly gestures embedded in the pigments themselves.' "
Duggan writes: "In the summer of 1913, after the landmark Armory Show introduced European modernism to America, Henri needed to reassess his life and art. Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland became Henri's refuge and the people, especially the children, of the little village of Dooagh became his subjects and salvation.... Henri returned every summer from 1924 through 1928, he bonded with the villagers and continued to explore his portraiture."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.