Though George Bellows established his fame by capturing the almost entirely male world of New York’s boxing clubs, he spent the second half of his career surrounded by and frequently painting women. After his marriage to Emma Story in 1910 and the births of their two daughters, Anne and Jean, he lived in an all-female household that often included his Aunt Elinor and his mother, Anna. Bellows’s depictions of women came to rival, in both their variety and ambition, his more famous boxing scenes.
Among the most successful of Bellows’s many portraits of his family are those of his eldest daughter, Anne, which he painted from her infancy until September 1923, a little over a year before his premature death in January 1925. Anne with a Japanese Parasol was completed in Camden, Maine, in September 1917, when Anne was six years old. The previous year Bellows had represented his daughter holding a plainer, more generic closed parasol in Anne with Her Parasol (1916, private collection). Open on the floor, the decorative, more sophisticated type featured in Anne with a Japanese Parasol was a popular fashion accessory among upper-class women during the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It may have been meant to evoke Anne’s burgeoning imagination and self-awareness.
In this richly colored, broadly rendered, full-length portrait, six-year-old Anne Bellows stands on a mauve carpet holding an open Japanese parasol in her right hand and a small purse in her left.
Anne, the eldest of Bellows’s two daughters, was born in 1911 and named after her paternal grandmother. She married Maynard Skipper Kearney in 1937, and the couple had three sons and one daughter. She died in 1974.
The previous year Bellows had painted Anne with Her Parasol (1916, private collection), in which he represented his daughter, this time seated in a chair, clasping the handle of a closed parasol with both hands.
This painting was purchased by the collector Stephen Clark, who became dissatisfied with it and offered to exchange it for another in 1920. Bellows declined, saying, “I feel that when I sell a picture it is a good one, and carries a value that can be realized upon it in the Art market, if for any reason the owner wishes to dispose of it.” Clark again requested an exchange in 1921, when he wanted to acquire Katherine Rosen (1921, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT). This time Bellows accepted the exchange, possibly because Anne with Her Parasol was of sentimental value to him. See Charles W. Morgan, George Bellows: Painter of America (New York, 1965), 234, 258–259.
Though George Bellows established his fame by capturing the almost entirely male world of New York’s boxing clubs, he spent the second half of his career surrounded by and frequently painting women. After his marriage to Emma Story in 1910 and the births of their two daughters, Anne and Jean, he lived in an all-female household that often included his Aunt Elinor and his mother, Anna. Over the last half of his abbreviated career Bellows’s depictions of women came to rival, in both their variety and scope, his more famous boxing scenes.
For a comprehensive discussion of Bellows’s family portraits, see M. Melissa Wolfe, “Family Life: Portraiture, 1914–1923,” in Charles Brock et al., George Bellows (Washington, DC, 2012), 187–209.
Other portraits of Anne include Portrait of Anne (1915, High Museum of Art), Anne (1915, Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery), Anne in Blue Green Silk (1916, marked “destroyed” in Bellows’s Record Book), Anne in Black Velvet (1917, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College), Anne in Purple Wrap (1921, Addison Gallery of American Art), and Anne in Pink with Flowers (1921, location unknown).
August 17, 2018
lower right in red: Geo Bellows; upper left in dark blue: Geo Bellows
The artist [1882-1925]; by inheritance to his wife, Emma S. Bellows [1884-1959]; her estate; purchased June 1964 through (H.V. Allison & Co., New York) by Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia; gift 1983 to NGA.
- Carson, Pirie and Scott Gallery, Chicago, 1917 [a commercial gallery, according to the artist's Record Book].
- Hill Tollerton, San Francisco, 1917 [a commercial gallery, according to the artist's Record Book].
- Oakland Art Museum, California, 1917 [according to the artist's Record Book].
- Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows, Gallery of Fine Arts and Art Association of Columbus, Ohio, January-February 1918, no. 4, as Anne.
- Twenty-Fifth Annual Exhibition of American Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, May-July 1918, no. 32, as Anne.
- An Exhibition of Oil Paintings by George Bellows, N.A. and Mural Paintings and Drawings by Violet Oakley, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, December 1919, no. 11.
- Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, March-April 1919, no. 2 or no. 18, as Anne.
- Paintings by George Bellows, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, September-October 1919, no. 11.
- Paintings by George Bellows, Art Institute of Chicago, November-December 1919, no. 11.
- Springfield, Illinois, 1919 [according to the artist's Record Book].
- Thirteenth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists and a Group of Small Selected Bronzes by American Sculptors, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, May-September 1919, no. 2, repro., as Portrait of Anne.
- Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, 1919 [according to the artist's Record Book].
- The Twenty-Second Annual Exhibition of Paintings by American Artists, The Art Club of Erie at the Public Library, Erie, Pennsylvania, 1920, no. 11 [incorrectly listed as 1919 in the artist's Record Book].
- Paintings by George Bellows, H.V. Allison & Co., New York, 1942, unnumbered checklist, as Anne with a Parasol.
- George Bellows, H.V. Allison & Co., New York, 1962, no. 13.
- George Bellows, H.V. Allison & Co., New York, 1964, no. 11.
- Gifts to the Nation: Selected Acquisitions from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1986, unnumbered checklist.
The fine, plain-weave fabric support has been lined with a fabric similar to that of the painting using an aqueous adhesive and mounted on a nonoriginal stretcher. The bottom tacking margin has been flattened to expand the painting by 3 cm, but the others have been removed. The fabric was prepared with a white ground. The artist applied paint alla prima with vigorous, broad brushstrokes using a variety of techniques ranging from thin scumbles and glazes to high impasto. X-radiographic examination reveals that the figure was originally placed higher in the composition and that the basket of flowers was considerably lower. No underdrawing was visible in infrared examination.
Infrared examination was conducted with the Kodak 310-21x, a platinum silicide camera with a 55 mm macro lens and a 1.5–2.0 micron filter.
- Peck, Glenn C. George Bellows' Catalogue Raisonné. H.V. Allison & Co. URL: http://www.hvallison.com. Accessed 16 August 2016.
- Bellows, Emma Louise Story. The Paintings of George Bellows. New York, 1929: 72, repro.
- Morgan, Charles H. George Bellows. Painter of America. New York, 1965: 203, 234, 258-259.
- Braider, Donald. George Bellows and the Ashcan School of Painting. New York, 1971: 124, 133-134.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 31, repro.
- Quick, Michael, Jane Myers, Marianne Doezema, and Franklin Kelly. The Paintings of George Bellows. Exh. cat. Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Columbus (Ohio) Museum of Art; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, 1992-1993. New York, 1992: 213-214, repro, fig. 40.