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George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)
Property from the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation
George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)

Portrait of a Laughing Boy

Details
George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)
Portrait of a Laughing Boy
signed 'Geo Bellows.' (upper left)
oil on canvas
24 x 18¼ in. (61 x 46.4 cm.)
Painted in 1907.
Provenance
The artist.
Estate of the above.
Emma S. Bellows, wife of the artist.
Estate of the above, 1959.
[With]H.V. Allison & Co., New York.
Private collection, acquired from the above, 1960.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Literature
The Artist's Record Book A, p. 36.
Frank K.M. Rehn Galleries, Exhibition by George Bellows: Paintings, Drawings, Lithographs, exhibition checklist, New York, 1928, no. 12.
E.S. Bellows, The Paintings of George Bellows, New York, 1929, n.p., no. 9, illustrated.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Realists, 1900-1914: Robert Henri, George Luks, John Sloan, William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, George Bellows, Everett Shinn, Glenn O. Coleman and Guy Pène du Bois, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1937, n.p., no. 6.
H.V. Allison & Co., Inc., Paintings by George Bellows, exhibition checklist, New York, 1960, no. 2.
Gallery of Modern Art Including the Huntington Hartford Collection, George Bellows: Paintings, Drawings, Lithographs, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1966, p. 43, no. 7.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., George Bellows (1882-1925), exhibition catalogue, New York, 1971, n.p., no. 1.
Exhibited
New York, 42nd Street Gallery, Exhibition of Sixteen, 1908.
New York, Macdowell Club Galleries, 1909.
St. Louis, Missouri, St. Louis Society of Artists, 1909.
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Wyoming County Historical Center, 1913.
New York, Montross Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows, January 17-31, 1914, no. 19 (as Jimmy Flannigan).
New York, Milch Galleries, 1920.
New York, Frank K.M. Rehn Galleries, Exhibition by George Bellows: Paintings Drawings Lithographs, January 2-21, 1928, no. 12 (as Jimmy Flannagan).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Realists, 1900-1914: Robert Henri, George Luks, John Sloan, William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, George Bellows, Everett Shinn, Glenn O. Coleman and Guy Pène du Bois, February 9-March 5, 1937, no. 6.
New York, H.V. Allison & Co., George Bellows, May 3-28, 1960, no. 2.
New York, The Gallery of Modern Art Including the Huntington Hartford Collection, George Bellows: Paintings, Drawings, Lithographs, March 15-May 1, 1966, no. 7.
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., George Bellows: 1882-1925, 1971, no. 1.

Lot Essay

Each generation of young painters wants to be innovative, to create works of art that eclipse in some fashion those currently held in high regard. For George Bellows, who arrived in New York City in 1905 at age 23, this meant to challenge the prevailing interest in refined subjects in painting. The Beaux Arts style at the beginning of the 20th century equated high art with high society. Bellows instead found his inspiration in the working class, which at this moment consisted mostly of immigrants. Over a million Europeans entered America each year through New York's harbor and many stayed to build its bridges and skyscrapers, to man the restaurants, or simply sell newspapers on the street. Bellows found it easy to mingle with the new immigrants, and fought hard to capture their freshness and expressiveness on canvas. Irish kids were ubiquitous on the sidewalks, and on occasion the artist succeeded in having one of these colorful children sit still long enough for him to complete a likeness. Portrait of a Laughing Boy represents one of the finest of this group. Jimmy's mirthful vivacity is barely contained, and there is no question that the artist's painterly style forcefully conveys this youth's boundless energy. Other compelling portraits of children from this summer include the pensive Queenie Burnett, known as Little Girl in White (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and the attentive Frankie the Organ Boy (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri). As a group they sum up wonderfully the spirit of this age.

To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the paintings of George Bellows being prepared by Glenn C. Peck. An online version of the catalogue is available at www.hvallison.com.

Special thanks to Mr. Glenn C. Peck for his assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.

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