George Wesley Bellows, ‘The Black Hat (Emma in a Black Hat)’, 1921, Harris Schrank Fine Prints

George Bellows (1882-1925), The Black Hat (Emma in a Black Hat), lithograph, 1921. Reference: Morse 113. From the edition of 55. Signed in pencil by the artist, and also inscribed in pencil by the printer “Bolton Brown imp”, lower margin. In good condition (tiny fox mark lower margin center, faintest pale time staining), on cream/tan thin Japan paper, with margins, 13 1/8 x 9 1/4, the sheet 14 1/4 x 10 3/8 inches.

Provenance: Estate of Ralph Spencer; Allison Gallery (H.V. Allison and Company, 11 East 57th Street, New York, NY was a noted gallery famed for handling Bellows prints. Their label is appended to this mat).

A fine atmospheric impression.

Bellows created a number of portraits of the women in his life wearing black hats, and several of Emma in various poses; she can also be seen wearing a black hat (surely this one) in the Tennis Tournament. Here, she has a plaintive expression, set off by the spectacular patterning of her garments. In our view, The Black Hat is Bellows’s finest portrait in lithography.

Signature: Signed in pencil by the artist, and also inscribed in pencil by the printer “Bolton Brown imp”, lower margin

About George Wesley Bellows

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