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George Bellows and New York, 1900–1930

George Bellows and New York, 1900-1930
Early 20th-century New York was humming with constant growth and progress, not only in business and architecture, but also in art and society. This exhibition features a group of paintings, prints, and photographs from the Museum’s collection that embodies the changing urban environment of New York in the first decades of the 1900s. It is organized around George Bellows’ acclaimed 1909 painting The Bridge, Blackwell’s Island,which captures the vibrancy, industry, and innovation of this modern metropolis. Because this painting is very fragile, it could not travel to the major retrospective of George Bellows’ work at the National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (June 10–October 12, 2012), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (November 15, 2012–February 18, 2013), and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (March 16–June 9, 2013).Several of the works are by members of the Ashcan School, an informal group of Realist painters and illustrators with whom Bellows was associated and who portrayed their city in both elegant and gritty detail. From deserted construction sites to the teeming Lower East Side markets, these artists and others represented New York from all angles as the restless city grew and altered.Exploring themes of public versus private in urban life, the modern architectural city and its consequences for the natural environment, issues of social class, and new attitudes towards the city as artistic subject matter, George Bellows and New York illuminates a fascinating moment in the development of modern America in all of its contradictions, revelations, failures, and triumphs.