Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

George Bellows, American Realist and
War Artist

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The Germans Arrive

The realist painter George Bellows (1882-1925) produced two of the most famous boxing paintings of American art, Stag Night at Sharkey's and Dempsey and Firpo. Apparently though, despite his familiarity with physical violence, something snapped when Bellows heard the partly true, but sometimes exaggerated, accounts of German atrocities in Belgium. He appears to have decided that German policy was to trample on the Marquess of Queensberry's rules, the Geneva Conventions, and common decency. He produced a series of paintings which are, possibly, grimmer than anything turned out by the various propaganda ministries during the war. The image above of brutal German soldiers removing both of the young man's hands in the company of swooning ladies and another recently deceased fellow citizen is one of the less ghoulish works in the series.

To see more examples and learn more about Bellows and his grievances, visit the excellent blog My Daily Art Display

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this excellent post. I, and I imagine many readers, know Bellows from his participation in the New York School and the best known examples, the fight paintings, and did not know of these works from the Great War period. From the same blog site, be sure to check out the paintings of his wife and children, further developing our image of Bellows and his work, at