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George Bellows: Biography

   George Bellows was born in Columbus, Ohio on August 12, 1882 and is known best for his depictions of city life in New York City.  He went to Ohio State University between 1901 and 1904 and was encouraged to become a professional baseball player, but he had no interest.  He worked as an illustrator for his school and continued to do magazine assignments throughout his life.  He left Ohio State before graduation and moved to New York City to study Art.  He was a student of Robert Henri and the New York School of Art and was associated with Henri’s “The Eight” and the Ashcan school. 
   While he was working with Robert Henri, he also was associated with the group “the Lyrical Left” who tended towards anarchism and appreciated their advocacy of individual rights.  He did not claim himself to be an anarchist though was influenced greatly by anarchist beliefs because he believed that his personal artistic freedom did not need to be classified in any ideological political policy.  He first received notice in 1908 when he and other pupils organized an urban exhibition.  Bellows depicted the crudity and chaos of working-class people and neighborhoods.  Between 1907 and 1915 he began depicting New York City under snowfall which many people believed his strong sense of light and visual texture.  Interestinglly enough, he is remembered best in history for his paintings of amateur boxing matches.  He died on January 8, 1925 in New York of peritonitis.


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