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Feb 8 / Michael

George Bellows: painting the corners

Dempsey and Firpo (1924) by George Bellows

So, I learned something cool tonight. And, OK, I learned it on Antiques Roadshow, but whatever, shut up: I was waiting for American Experience: The Bombing of Germany to begin. Anyhoo, George Bellows, one of my favorite American artists (again: shut up), gave up a promising baseball career to pursue painting.

I’m not sure why I find that so cool. If I could go back in time and do one thing, I would go back to Little League and start working hard on a knuckleball. But Bellows was ready for the bigs, no time machine required, and he gave it up. It is just an astounding level of commitment to your art—and to pull it off? To become the best painter of your generation, whose work still resonates a century later (Bill Gates bought a Bellows for $27.5 million; the lady on Antiques Roadshow got $150,000 worth of good news)? That is amazing. Amazing and very, very cool.

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  1. Michael / Feb 8 2010

    Also, check out this amazing 1922 New York Times story about the protests over exhibiting Bellows’ “Nude Girl with a Shawl”…

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