The Stories behind Some of the Most Striking Sports Photographs of the Last Century
Alternatively titled Preliminaries to the Big Bout
Edition of 67 (Mason, 24).
Signed "Geo. Bellows (F.B.B.)" in pencil l.r., inscribed "No 44" in pencil l.l., identified on a label from H.V. Allison & Co., Inc., New York, affixed to the backing.
Image size 15 3/4 x 19 5/8 in. (40.0 x 49.8 cm), framed.
N.B. The initials next to the signature are those of Jean Bellows Booth, the artist's daughter, who signed this print. Preliminaries is one of Bellows' earliest boxing subject lithographs and is the only one to include women. It is also one of the few that takes the focus off of the boxers and turns it onto the audience. The central figure is elegantly attired in a long gown, and stares out directly at us. Her companions, both male and female, are well heeled. The setting is Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ashcan school member George Bellows painted observant, grittily realistic images of early 20th-century urbanity. Though trained in America, he was interested in European art and helped organize the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show. Bellows' portrayals of boxers and tenement dwellers were executed in a loose, somewhat impressionistic style, with bold brushstrokes, thick paint, and a muted color palette. He also painted members of his circle in portraits, as well as seascapes and landscapes of the Northeast. In his later works, Bellows explored more modern ideas of color and composition, before his unexpected death at the height of his prowess due to appendicitis complications.
American, 1882-1925, Columbus, OH, United States, based in New York, NY, United States