GEORGE BELLOWS: Painter of America by Charles Morgan

GEORGE BELLOWS: Painter of America

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Morgan is a man with an educated narrative style, a sense of how to make good use of plentiful, but banal biographical material, and a sure talent for reproducing paintings through words. Choosing George Bellows, one of our first painters of the ""realist"" school, over, say, Sargent as America's Painter, he reveals a life quite representative of American artists. The painter of ""Both Members of this Club,"" in which white and Negro prizefighter duel under hot gritty light, came out of a strict Methodist boyhood in Ohio, out of an athletic background of baseball and basketball, out of New York days when he was poor on the street but studied his art as a discipline at school. The New York ""eight,"" the famous Armory show, Eugene O'Neill, cornballs and communists pass in review as the story of his life progresses. But not even Morgan's able prose can make the successful artist and illustrator, the hometown hero, the domesticated fauve, anything more than tedious. He died of a ruptured appendix. The irony, American style of course, was that towards the end this threat affected his ballplaying more than his painting. Morgan does his best to convert a commonplace life into a significant one.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1965
Publisher: Morrow-Reynal