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George Bellows: American Life in Print 

October 25, 2024–February 9, 2025

Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries (Galleries 124 and 125)
Free Admission
Friends of Prints

George Bellows (1882–1925) was a painter, illustrator, and printmaker. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the artist’s passing on January 8, 1925, the Cincinnati Art Museum is recognizing a promised gift of 53 lithographs and drawings by the artist from Dr. James and Mrs. Lois Sanitato.

Bellows chose to leave his native Columbus, Ohio, and moved to New York in 1904 to become a professional artist. He enrolled in the New York School of Art where he became a student of Robert Henri (1865–1929). Henri encouraged his students to move beyond European traditions, to open their eyes to contemporary life and the transformation of the New York urban environment.

By the age of 26 Bellows had garnered critical acclaim, becoming the youngest elected member to the National Academy. During his 20-year career, his paintings captured the spirit and character of life in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Financially successful, in 1916, he set up set up a lithograph press in his studio at a time when the medium was associated with ephemeral commercial art and collectors favored etchings.

Over the next nine years Bellows executed more than 190 prints, almost single-handedly elevating lithography to a fine art in the United States. The inherent flexibility of the process, its potential for drawing in vigorous strokes, and its richness of tone were well suited to his expressive yet journalistic style. The subjects that fascinated him range from intimate studies of his family and friends to snap shots of American life, the atrocities of World War I, and what first caught the public’s attention: boxing. All were new and undeniably American subjects. Today, Bellows is known for his paintings, yet his accomplishments in lithography stand on equal footing.