Anne in Black Velvet
Anne in Black Velvet
George Bellows
Oil on panel, 1917
Gift of George D. Pratt, class of 1893.
Reproduced by permission of Jean Bellows Booth

September 5 - December 10, 2006
Fairchild Gallery

Born in Columbus, Ohio, George Bellows was part of the Ashcan School of painters who sought to paint life as they saw it, without embellishment or pretension. His paintings display a vibrant palette and lively brushwork, and capture the world he inhabited. He is known for his lush landscapes, poignant portraits of family and friends, and incisive scenes of life in the urban tenement. Bellows was a proficient draftsman and printmaker, and his drawings and prints offer passionate vignettes that investigate life in the boxing ring, as well as social injustices, the agonies of war, and other socio-political issues. Amherst College and the Mead Art Museum are fortunate to have a rich collection of works by George Bellows, as well as his personal papers and memorabilia. Using works from the permanent collection and Frost Special Collections, the exhibition will examine four themes that Bellows repeatedly explored during his short life: his family, sports (particularly life in the boxing ring), social and political injustice, and his immediate environment.

The show will include four themes which Bellows investigated in his work. The sections are tentatively called: Sights and Sounds (the artist’s rural and urban surroundings); Through the Ropes (sporting images); The Changing World (social and political issues including the agonies of war); and The Artist's Circle (portraits of family and friends, as well as a few images of the artist as portrayed by his colleagues). The exhibition will also feature a group of related documents and photographs from the George W. Bellows Papers in the Archives and Special Collections at the Amherst College Library.

The Archives and Special Collections at the Amherst College Library will host a satellite exhibition titled George Bellows: A Family Festival, curated by Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections. The exhibition takes as its focus Bellows’s immediate and extended family, and the idea that Bellows’s career evolved within the context of his family, friends, and fellow artists and their families who lived alongside Bellows in the Woodstock, New York, community. Many of his most striking portraits were of his wife and daughters, Anne and Jean. Bellows's life-long enthusiasm for sports and drama are also part of the mix. Though famous as an artist, Bellows did not create an "artistic persona". He remained true to himself and his family and friends throughout his life, which is reflected in the subjects of his art.

The exhibition in the Archives and Special Collections will showcase manuscript letters between and among members of the Bellows family, generations of family photographs, memorabilia from the artist’s youth, the creative work of the Bellows daughters – especially their childhood magazines The Enjoyer and The Storyteller — scrapbooks, and other material drawn from the George W. Bellows Papers and The Charles H. Morgan Papers on George W. Bellows Papers in the Amherst College Library.

The exhibition, publication, and related events are supported by the Charles Morgan Fund and the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund.


Thursday, 14 September 2006
Realism and Resonance: The Urban Landscape In George Bellows’s Art, Marianne Doezema, Florence Finch Abbott Director, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, 4:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. A reception will follow in the lobby of Stirn.

Friday, 27 October 2006, 1:00 pm (Family Weekend)
George Bellows and His Circle of Friends, Trinkett Clark, Curator of American Art, and Daria D’Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections, Fairchild Gallery.

Friday, 10 November, 1:00 pm (Homecoming Weekend)
Through the Ropes, Billy T. McBride, Senior Coach, Physical Education; Coach McBride will talk about boxing and the Bellows images, Fairchild Gallery