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

Saturday, May 7, 2022

George Bellows, American Realist and War Artist — A Roads Classic


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The Germans Arrive

The realist painter George Bellows (1882–1925) created 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 Queensberry rules, the Geneva Convention, and common decency. 

Massacre at Dinant

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.

The Murder of Edith Cavell

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

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