George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)

George Wesley Bellows, a socially-conscious American-born painter, was known for his brash depictions of life in urban New York City. Bellows became a major painter of the early 20th century after painting boxing matches, which typified the culture he was attempting to capture. Bellows also taught at the Art Students League in New York and at the Art Institute in Chicago.

After studying art with Robert Henri at the New York School of Art, Bellows was inspired to depict urban subjects in a realist matter, and he produced a number of paintings of New York life that eventually defined his artistic career. Such paintings include Dempsey and Firpo, which combined both New York s urbanity and boxing culture.

Bellows s paintings were noted for the crudely chaotic depiction of blue-collar society while also satirizing the upper class. His strong sense of light and texture, while masterfully capturing movement, especially in his boxing paintings, arguably his signature contribution to art history, are characterized by dark auras juxtaposed by vivid human figures.

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