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George Wesley Bellows Self-Portrait

George Wesley Bellows Self-Portrait
George Wesley Bellows, 12 Aug 1882 - 8 Jan 1925
George Wesley Bellows, 12 Aug 1882 - 8 Jan 1925
Lithograph on paper
Sheet: 29.4 x 22.3cm (11 9/16 x 8 3/4")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
George Bellows 1882-1925
Although more renowned for his paintings of sporting events and urban scenes, George Bellows devoted much of his short career to making lithographic prints. In this 1921 self-portrait, he appears to revel in the medium's rich range of tones from velvety darkness to delicate grays. The sparkling clarity of the atmosphere, the bold black and white contrasts, and the pose, in which he is actually drawing on the stone, all speak to Bellows's love for lithography. This seemingly straightforward depiction of the artist working at his craft is actually quite complex. The complicated grid of horizontal and vertical elements describes a tall cabinet for holding prints and a window through which we see a balcony railing and a city view. The scalloped frame of what we read as a mirror, however, contrasts sharply with that geometric structure while giving the viewer an ambiguous sense of displacement.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection