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."
Mira Schor blogs about a group of three paintings by George Bellows depicting the excavation for Pennsylvania Station. The pictures are part of the exhibition George Bellows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through February 18, 2013.
Schor writes: "The paintings are easel sized and painted in a loose expressionistic style that is a eerie and awkward combination of Goya, Velasquez, Courbet, with a Brueghel quote in the bottom right corner of a dark worker against a snow white background but, despite these historical allusions, they are imbued with a regionalist, Americanist feel. And yet, as one viewer I overheard say, these paintings are ferocious... These are very good paintings by a painter who was just short of being great... But he was nevertheless a very interesting artist, and he looked at interesting, important things, that is, the city as it was built, and as it was lived by the poor, and these paintings should be seen..."
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.' "
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.