George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)
George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)

Mill Dam

George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925)
Mill Dam
oil on canvas
16 5/8 x 24 in. (42.2 x 61 cm.)
Painted in 1924.
The artist.
Estate of the above, 1925.
Emma S. Bellows, wife of the artist.
Estate of the above, 1959.
H.V. Allison & Co., Inc., New York.
Mrs. Harold Rifkin, Riverdale, New York, acquired from the above, 1967.
Senator William Benton, New York.
Louise Benton Wagner, daughter of the above.
Louise Benton Wagner Trust.
Christie's, New York, 25 May 2000, lot 70, sold by the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
New York, H.V. Allison & Co., Inc., George Bellows, May 1967, no. 9.
Storrs, Connecticut, University of Connecticut, William Benton Museum of Art, on extended loan.
Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Museum of Art; Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Museum; Des Moines, Iowa, Des Moines Art Center; Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester Art Museum, George Wesley Bellows: Paintings, Drawings and Prints, April 1-December 28, 1979, p. 64, no. 53, illustrated.

Lot Essay

The present work was painted in October 1924 in Woodstock, New York.

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

At the invitation of fellow artist, Eugene Speicher, George Bellows came for an extended visit to Woodstock, New York in the spring of 1920. He quickly became enamored with this bucolic village nestled in the Catskill Mountains. Besides great mountain scenery, the place had become quite popular with New York City based artists. Beginning in 1906, the Art Students League held summer teaching sessions there, and with the formation of the Woodstock Artists Association in 1919, resident artists had a local place where they could exhibit their work. During this stay Bellows completed thirteen landscapes of the surrounding countryside and secured a house to rent for the ensuing summer and fall. He returned that summer with his wife, two young daughters, mother Anna and Aunt Elinor for a productive season of painting and socializing. While he not only continued to paint the local scenery, he also found the time to compose some of his finest portraits, using his extended family as models. When fall arrived, the family dispersed back to the city, but Bellows remained behind to work hard on another series of landscapes. Autumn brought both the beauty of the changing foliage and clear, crisp skies that the artist so loved to paint. He finished another thirty landscapes between October and his return home to New York the following month.

Bellow’s work during his time at Woodstock is informed by the panoramic view of the mountains surrounding Saugerties and Woodstock, as well as the verdant fields, lakes and streams. Painting in a newly high keyed palette of predominately primarily colors, and painted with confident and daring brushwork, the lush surfaces and vibrant palettes distinguish the Woodstock landscapes from the rest of the artist’s career. Painted in 1924, during Bellows’ last summer in Woodstock, Mill Dam depicts rushing cerulean waters surrounded by rich autumnal foliage, deep purple hillsides and a clear blue sky, dotted with billowy clouds.

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