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George Bellows

Born: 1882, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America
Died: 1925, New York, New York, United States of America

The Palisades
1909

Oil on canvas
Image: 30 x 38 1/8 in. (76.2 x 96.8 cm)
Frame: 38 1/2 x 46 7/16 in. (97.8 x 118.0 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.10
Signed: Lower left: Geo. Bellows
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

One of several paintings by George Bellows showing the Hudson River from the west side of Manhattan Island in New York City, The Palisades demonstrates the artist’s fascination with wintertime. Set in Riverside Park and framed by tall trees, the scene looks west across the river toward the cliffs known as the Palisades, in New Jersey. The brilliant white of patchy snow is echoed by the powerful plume of steam billowing from the funnel of a southbound locomotive. Bellows’s contrasts of light and dark and use of strong color, especially the complementary orange and blue near the center of the composition, suggest the crystalline clarity and dry chill of the air on a winter afternoon. The train and similarly steaming tugs on the river, as well as the shed and jetties that blur the boundary between land and water, all testify to the Hudson as a busy working river, in contrast to the sedate elegance of the park, where benches and a streetlamp create a welcoming environment for the leisurely top-hatted strollers as they advance along a path that curves away toward the right. These elements suggest movement and spatial recession, while Bellows’s bravura brushwork, which includes such effects as dragging an almost-dry brush to mimic receding snow and scraping through the paint to suggest the thin branches of trees, undermine the pictorial illusion by asserting the flatness of the canvas surface.

“I must always paint snow at least once a year,” declared the artist in 1914. Bellows painted numerous wintertime scenes, but he produced more of them in 1909, when he painted The Palisades, than in any other year. Several of these works depict the Hudson River shore from a variety of viewpoints and under varying conditions of light and times of day. They were inspired by the critical triumph of an earlier Hudson wintertime view, North River (Museum of American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia), which won a prize at the prestigious National Academy of Design annual exhibition in 1908. In addition to promising critical and financial success, the theme of the river in winter also served Bellows’s interest in various theories of color and composition. The Palisades is one of a group of paintings that signal a shift in Bellows’s coloration from a tonalist approach, in which the entire color scheme was organized around one dominant tone, to the use of strong contrasts of complementary colors, as advocated by color theorist and paint manufacturer Hardesty Maratta (1864–1924).

Bellows shared his interest in wintertime and snowy scenes with many contemporary American artists, including members of the Ashcan school, so called by a derisive critic for their gritty urban realism and anti-academic technique. While loosely associated with the Ashcan artists, Bellows aspired to more assured critical approval. His interpretations of New York City in winter, particularly his emphasis on the park and the river, use cold and snow to soften harsh urban realities.

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Provenance

The artist
Montross Gallery
Estate of William Scranton Pardee
New Haven Historical Society, New Haven, Connecticut, c. 1918
Quinnipiack Club, New Haven, Connecticut, c. 1940s until 1981
Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts
Private Collection, Providence, Rhode Island, 1981
Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts
Daniel J. Terra Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1983
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1999

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Exhibition History

Exhibition, William MacBeth Galleries, New York, New York, 1909.

Fourth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, May 10–August 30, 1909, no. 13. [exh. cat.]

Fourth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, September 12, 1909, no. 13. [exh. cat.]

Winter Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, New York, December 11, 1909–January 9, 1910, no. 125.

Exhibition, Peabody Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, 1910.

Exhibition, Indianapolis Art Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1910.

Twenty-third Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Sculpture by American Artists, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, October 18–November 27, 1910, no. 16. [exh. cat.]

106th Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 5–March 26, 1911, no. 480. [exh. cat.]

Exhibition, Marshall Field & Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1911.

Exhibition, Curtiss Studios, New Haven, Connecticut, 1911.

Exhibition, Boston Art Club, Boston, Massachusetts, 1912.

Exhibition, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1912.

Paintings by George Bellows, Art Students League of Columbus, Public Library, Columbus, Ohio, November 16–26, 1912, no. 12. [exh. cat.]

Paintings by George Bellows, N.A., Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, December 1912, no. 12. [exh. cat.]

Exhibition, Wyoming Historical Society, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1913.

Exhibition, The Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York, 1913.

Special Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows, N.A., Detroit Museum of Art, Detroit, Michigan, January 1–25, 1913, no. 12.

Paintings by George W. Bellows, Copley Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, February 3–15, 1913, no. 4.

Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows, January 17–31, 1914, no. 23.

Exhibition of 19th-Century Pictures, New Haven Public Library, New Haven, Connecticut, c. 1940. [checklist lists dates, May 10–June 22, but no year]

Masterworks in American Art from the Daniel J. Terra Collection, Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois, April 27–September 12, 1985.

A Proud Heritage: Two Centuries of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, April 21–June 21, 1987. [exh. cat.]

Selections from the Permanent Collection: Americans at Home and Abroad, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 6–29, 1987.

Collection Cameo, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 1991.

The Paintings of George Bellows, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California and Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (organizer). Venues: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, February 16–May 10, 1992; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York, June 5–August 20, 1992; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, October 11, 1992–January 3, 1993; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, February 20–May 9, 1993. [exh. cat.]

Selected Works from the Collections: Two Hundred Years of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, April 12–August 27, 1997.

Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920 (The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–July 15, 1999. [exh. cat.]

Rivières et rivages: les artistes américains, 1850–1900 (Waves and Waterways: American Perspectives, 1850–1900), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–October 31, 2000. [exh. cat.]

Selections from the Permanent Collection: Two Centuries of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 10–July 1, 2001.

Selections from the Permanent Collection: American Moderns, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, July 14–October 7, 2001.

American Classics: Selections from the Terra Foundation for the Arts, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, January 26–September 1, 2002.

A Place on the Avenue: Terra Museum of American Art Celebrates 15 Years in Chicago, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 16, 2002–February 16, 2003 (on exhibit extended run: November 2, 2002–March 2, 2003).

American Classics from the Collection, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, May 14–June 15, 2003.

American Classics, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 13, 2003–February 8, 2004.

A Narrative of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, February 13–October 31, 2004.

Expanded Galleries of American Art with Loans from the Terra Foundation for American Art Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, April 15, 2005–September 2007.

Galleries of American Art with Loans from the Terra Foundation for American Art Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, June 2008–December 2010.

An American Experiment: George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters, National Gallery, London, United Kingdom and Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizers). Venue: National Gallery, London, United Kingdom, March 3– May 30, 2011. [exh. cat.]

Galleries of American Art with Loans from the Terra Foundation for American Art Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, June 2011– May 2012.

George Bellows, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in association with Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, and Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom (organizers). Venues: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, June 10–October 8, 2012; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, November 14, 2012–February 18, 2013; Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom. [exh. cat.] (exhibited in Washington and New York only).

George Bellows and the American Experience, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio (organizer). Venue: Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, August 23, 2013-January 5, 2014.

Galleries of American Art with Loans from the Terra Foundation for American Art Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, April 2014–present.

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Published References

The Fourth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by Ameriacn Artists at the Forest Park Art Building. (exh. cat., The City Art Museum of Saint Louis). St. Louis, Missouri: The City Art Museum of Saint Louis. Text p. 12, cat. no. 13 (checklist).

Catalogue of the Twenty-Third Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture. (exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago). Chicago, IL: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1910. Text cat. no. 16 (checklist).

“The Pennsylvania Academy." The Independent 70, no. 3247 (February 23, 1911): 403–405. Text p. 404.

A Catalogue of Paintings by George Bellows. (exh. cat. the Arts Students League of Columbus). Columbus, Ohio: Arts Students League of Columbus, 1912. Text, cat. no. 12 (checklist).

Catalogue of Paintings. (exh. cat. Toledo Museum of Art). Toledo, Ohio: The Toledo Museum of Art, 1912. Text p. 28, cat. no. 12 (checklist).

“Spanish Artist Graphically Paints His Race: Senor Zuloaga Depicts Spanish Types and Mr. Bellows Scenes Along Coast of New England.” New York Herald (January 21, 1914): 12. Text p. 12.

Cortissoz, Royal. “Matters of Art.” New York Tribune (January 25, 1914): 6. Text p. 6; ill. p. 6 (black & white).

Schaaf, Elizabeth. “Baltimore’s Peabody Art Gallery.” Archives of the American Art Journal 24, no.4 (1984): 9–14. Text p. 12.

Sokol, David M. "The Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois." The Magazine Antiques 126, no. 5 (November 1984): 1156–69. Ill. p. 1168, pl. XXIX (color).

Atkinson, D. Scott, et al. A Proud Heritage: Two Centuries of American Art. Edited by Terry A. Neff. (exh. cat., Terra Museum of American Art). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1987. Ill. p. 277, pl. T-168, p. 277 (color).

Hastings, Peter Falk. The Annual Exhibition Record of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1876–1913. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1989. Text p. 87 (checklist).

Hastings, Peter Falk. The Annual Exhibition Record of the National Academy of Design, 1901–1950. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1990. Text p. 74 (checklist).

Southgate, M. Therese. "The Cover." The Journal of the American Medical Association 263, no. 3 (January 19, 1990): 369. Text p. 369; ill. cover (color).

The Palisades, George Bellows. Collection Cameo sheet, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 1991. Ill. (black & white).

Doezema, Marianne, Franklin Kelly, Jane Myers and Michael Quick. The Paintings of George Bellows. (exh. cat., Amon Carter Museum). New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1992. Text pp. 19, 21; ill. p. 19, fig. 12 (color).

Setford, David and John Wilmerding. George Bellows: Love of Winter. (exh. cat., Norton Museum of Art). West Palm Beach, Florida: Norton Museum of Art, 1997. Text pp. 40–42, 45, 84; ill. p. 85, fig. 27.

Cartwright, Derrick R. The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1999. Text pp. 21, 23 (checklist); ill. p. 21, fig. 24 (black & white).

Cartwright, Derrick R. Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1999. Text pp. 21, 23 (checklist); ill. p. 21, fig. 24 (black & white).

Berman, Ann E. "Private Eyes." Art & Auction (April 1999): 50–55. Text p. 52.

Cartwright, Derrick R. Waves and Waterways: American Perspectives, 1850–1900. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2000. Text p. 26 (checklist); ill. p. 50 (color).

Cartwright, Derrick R. Rivières et rivages: les artistes américains, 1850–1900. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2000. Text p. 26 (checklist); ill. p. 50 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. An American Point of View: The Daniel J. Terra Collection. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 150, 191; ill. pp. 151 (color), 191 (black & white).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. Un regard transatlantique. La collection d'art américain de Daniel J. Terra. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 150, 191; ill. pp. 151 (color), 191 (black & white).

Kennedy, Elizabeth. "The Terra Museum of American Art." American Art Review 14, no. 6 (December 2002): 126–41. Text p. 134; ill. p. 140 (color).

Berman, Anne E. "Study in Contrasts." Art & Auction (July 2003): 112, 114. Text p. 114.

Fagg, John. On the Cusp, Stephen Crane, George Bellows and Modernism. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009. Text pp. 103–110, 114, 116, 121; ill. p. 104, fig. 9 (black & white).

Corbett, David Peters, Katherine Bouguignon, and Christopher Riopelle. An American Experiment: George Bellows and the Ashcan Painters. (exh. cat. National Gallery, London). London, United Kingdom: National Gallery Company Limited, 2011. Text pp. 25, 27, 53 (checklist), ill. p. 25, cat. no. 11 (color).

Hornik, Heidi J. "Enjoying a Wintry Park." Christian Reflections – Caring for Creation. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012. Text p. 57; ill. p. 56 (black & white).

Brock, Charles, ed. George Bellows. (exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2012. Text p. 107; ill. p. 117, pl. 28 (color).

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