Monday, July 2, 2012

George Bellows at the National Gallery of Art

George Bellows. Preaching (Billy Sunday), March 1915. Crayon, pen and ink, brush and ink wash on paper. Wiggin Collection, Boston Public Library.

Preaching (Billy Sunday), Photo by CopperKettle, from flicker, © June 29, 2009

The National Gallery of Art is showing the first extensive exhibition of George Bellows' work in over three decades. This exhibition displays a wide range of art spanning Bellows’ entire imaginative career. The show will be in Washington, DC from June 10 until October 8, 2012 and then it will travel to New York and London.

According to the press release from the National Gallery of Art, “George Bellows includes some 130 paintings, drawings, and lithographs of tenement children, boxers, and the urban landscape of New York, as well as Maine seascapes, sports images, World War I subjects, family portraits, and Woodstock, NY, scenes.”

As a part of this comprehensive collection, a spectacular drawing of the evangelist Billy Sunday, Preaching, by George Bellows, is on display.

In the introductory film to the exhibit, on the lowest level of the National Gallery of Art, George Bellows is quoted, commenting on his proclivity to capture Billy Sunday in his art, as saying, “I like to paint Billy Sunday, not because I like him, but because I want to show the world what I do think of him,” Bellows is also quoted in the film saying, “Do you know, I believe Billy Sunday is the worst thing that ever happened to America? He is death to imagination, to spirituality, to art… His whole purpose is to force authority against beauty.”

Not only is George Bellows’ realism great art, it captures experience, existence, authenticity, and truth. His art is also poignant commentary, which captures the nature and condition of raw humanity and speaks volumes on the spiritual condition of humanity. His artwork is phenomenal and this collection captures a varied assortment of his art throughout the span of his career.

The George Bellows exhibition is a must see if you find yourself in Washington, DC between now and October 8th.

For further detailed information about this exhibition, see the National Museum of Art’s Online Press Kit by clicking here.

To see a slide show of some of the George Bellows exhibition from the Washington Post, click here.

To watch a video of Billy Sunday, the inspiration for George Bellows’ artwork Preaching, click here and here.

This article was originally published in You can read it there by clicking here

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