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The Royal Academy showcase the works of George Bellows

On Saturday we will see the Royal Academy present its first retrospective in the country showcasing works by an artist named George Bellows. He never became the well known name many thought he should be, but Bellows will be presented through an energetic exhibition showing the boxers of the first world war kicking each others dispassionately, severing hands of Belgian youth, German soldiers burning an African-American man alive, along with other gruesome themes.

At the end of the retrospective, some adorable portraits of various women will be shown, according to Ann Dumas, co-curator of this exposition. After Bellows died in 1925, his obituary declared him one of the greatest American painters of all times, a man more well known at that time than Edward Hopper, friend and contemporary painter.

Now, for the first time, English audiences will be able to witness what this man was all about thanks to this new showcase of 71 artworks. His most famous painting called Stag at Sharkeys will also be shown, dating from 1909 and in which he shows a clandestine boxing tournament to members of a Broadway club. Bellows was one of many painters showing life as it was and not as they wished it to be, including all the grittiness of New York life as it came into the 20th century.

Of course, Bellows pushed it farther than most, and Stag at Sharkeys is one particular example of gutsy work. He was a formidable painter in the New York scene. He loved to shock and it showed in his works. There really has not been anything like him in the American painting scene before, and Bellows is well known for his boxing works even if he only did around six boxing paintings out of his 700 or more works.


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