The Stories behind Some of the Most Striking Sports Photographs of the Last Century
George Bellows (1882-1925), Tennis (Tennis Tournament), lithograph, 1921, signed in pencil lower right, also signed and annotated by the printer Bolton Brown, imp lower left, and numbered 37. Reference: Mason 71, only state, from the edition of about 63. In very good condition, repaired tears in margins left and bottom not affecting image, with margins; 18 3/8 x 20 inches.
A superb impression, printed on a thin Japan paper.
A souvenir of the summers Bellows spent with his family at Middletown, Rhode Island. Emma Bellows can be seen wearing the black hat, sitting at the left. Critics have speculated that the Rhode Island lithographs and paintings provided unusual subject matter for Bellows, who often focused on social or political issues in his work, but a broader view of Bellows indicates that aesthetic considerations were generally of primary concern to him. For example, in this lithograph the spectators and setting are given greater primacy than the tennis match itself. Still, Bellows depicts the spectators, including his wife, as an elegant and rather pretentious group, a perspective consistent with his social viewpoint.
Bellows created two major paintings related to this lithograph: Tennis Tournament (at Newport), in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Tennis at Newport in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. In addition there is at least one drawing nearly identical to Mason 71, Tennis at Newport, at the Arkansas Arts Center; he also created a smaller, less ambitious lithograph on the same subject (The Tournament, Mason 72).
Signature: signed in pencil lower right, also signed and annotated by the printer Bolton Brown, imp lower left, and numbered 37
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