George Wesley Bellows
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The City and the Rise of the Modern Woman, 1900–1945
Like his teacher and colleague Robert Henri, George Bellows gravitated toward the depiction of children as urban “types.” Here, he portrays a working-class newsboy, a popular subject for artists, documentary photographers, and writers around the turn of the twentieth century. The energetic brushwork conveys an impression of a spirited character, yet Bellows’s portrait of his sitter—an Irish child identified simply as Jimmy Flannigan in the artist’s record book—also veers toward the grotesque. The boy’s mischievous expression and caricatured features—particularly his pronounced ear and spindly hands—suggest how the artist relied on prevailing race- and class-based stereotypes.
Oil on canvas
29 15/16 x 21 7/8 in. (76 x 55.5 cm)
frame: 37 1/8 × 29 1/8 × 3 1/4 in. (94.3 × 74 × 8.3 cm)
Signed lower right: "Geo. Bellows."
Gift of Daniel and Rita Fraad, Jr.
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