Bellows is another one of those artists who walked a fine line between caricature and fine art. One only needs to look at the faces in the crowd of his fight scenes and his renditions of New York's lower east side during the early 20th century to see some really great examples of stretching features. I was familiar with "Stag at Sharkey's" but really became introduced to his work when I found a book of his lithographs. He was a member of "The Eight", a group of painters founded by Robert Henri and included John Sloan, Everett Shinn, William Glackens, & George Luks, all well known for their great illustration work as well as their paintings. Labeled the Ashcan School of Art, they depicted the darker, grittier side of American life.
I recall seeing an exhibit of Bellows paintings at the Met and standing in front of "The Cliff Dwellers" taking in all the wonderful detail. Then I moved in for closer inspection and the faces that had all that beautiful detail were just a "sploosh" of paint...I was totally amazed by how he was able to achieve those results with such a loose brush.
George Wesley Bellows - Wikipedia
The Powerful Hand of George Bellows: Drawings from the Boston Public Library
Posted by Vincenzo at 7:55 PM