Sunday, June 14

The Art of Boxing: George Bellows

"Club Night", 1907
"George Bellows is of the Ashcan School and the school of hard knocks: both institutions are rooted in realism. Bellows' interest in boxing coincided with the rise of other realists, though of different dimensions. The author Jack London and president Teddy Roosevelt were ascendent, immensely popular figures with turn of the century, hardscrabble Americans. At the time London was writing, Roosevelt was bullying, and Bellows was painting, the sport of boxing was drawing immense crowds across the country. There is a raw, primal intensity to Bellows' paintings of boxing matches. With slashing brushstrokes of thickly applied paint, he is able to capture the animal violence and muscular brutality of man. The energy and intensity of the bout is captured in both the clashing pugilists and in the frenzied crowds surrounding the ring. 'The atmosphere around the fighters is a lot more immoral than the fighters themselves,' Bellows once remarked. ..."
The Mantle
NGA: The Art of Boxing—George Bellows at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (Video)