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George Bellows arrived in New York City in 1905 to pursue a career as an illustrator. However, under the influence of Robert Henri, he was inspired to render the realities of urban life. This painting is one of Bellows’s first major works to depict the tenements and slums of New York. The artist’s vigorous brushstroke emphasizes the rowdy playfulness of the children on the left. Yet there is also a disquieting note to the painting. In the early 20th century, the term “kids” specifically referred to working-class children, often unsupervised and roaming the streets. In a shallow field of vision, blocked by a wooden fence, stand three children, one smoking a cigarette. Their poses are suggestive of an adult indifference that belies their young age.
Signed lower left: "Geo Bellows"
James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection
George Bellows, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, June 10 - October 8, 2012; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 15, 2012 - February 18, 2013
Private Passion, Public Promise: The James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Collection of American Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, May 1 - July 18, 2010
Society of American Artists, Twenty-Eighth Annual Exhibition, New York, 1906
Rawles, Susan J. and Christopher C. Oliver, The James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection of American Art: A Promise Fulfilled. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2015. Exhibition catalog, p. 134-135.
Brock, Charles, et al., George Bellows. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2012. Exhibition Catalog, no 6, p. 9, 31, 45-46, p. 58 (plate 6), 300, 304.
Yount, Sylvia, Private Passion, Public Promise: The James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Collection of American Art. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2010. Exhibition catalog, p. 63, back cover.
Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.
Other Works In This Gallery
This artwork is on display in:
American Galleries (McGlothlin Focus)
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