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George Bellows: First American at the National Gallery of London

Europe and America again open each other: the London National Gallery first acquired a painting by an American artist. The gallery has existed since 1839 and stores more than 2,000 works, but almost all of its treasures are examples of Western European painting from the 13th - early 20th centuries. And now - it happened: an American in London, but for big money! So who is “lucky”?“The work is modern,” experts say. But on it you will not find mysterious spots, no figures, no strange visions for which contemporary art is famous. The choice of London experts is the realist George Bellows, who, for example, calls the Columbus Museum of Art "the most famous artist of his generation." However, the American in London is not quite alone: ​​the National Gallery still owns paintings by European artists of American origin, such as Copley and Whistler, as well as George Inness's work “The Delaware Water Gorge”, but exposes them extremely rarely. - adds the breath of the time of the grand collection, reminding us of the times of the "Soviet" production themes. The painting of Bellows is sharp and corporate-urban: it was scenes from the life of New York and topical social and political plots that resonated with contemporaries and glorified Bellows.

“Dempsey and Firpo” (stored in the Whitney Museum of American Art), the scene of a boxer fight, can be considered the visiting card of the artist. A great sports lover, Bellows very juicy and dynamically showed the moment of the fight, and the work of the masters of the past is clearly felt in the work.

The National Gallery acquired the Men of the Docks canvas, created in 1912, the largest of a series of paintings with working people against the backdrop of winter views of New York. The group of workers on the quay in Brooklyn is not much different from the legendary “movers in the port” from the Odessa song about the Sailor Kostya. Now they have settled alongside famous Impressionist paintings, such as Monet and Pissarro. This pleasure cost the Londoners $ 25.5 million, honestly given to Randolph College (USA, Virginia). But where did the museum get the money from? From stock, of course! Funds for the purchase of paintings were found in the billionaire Jean-Paul Getty Foundation, founded in 2003 for precisely such noble purposes. Anonymous sources were also involved. The management of the British Museum is proud of its courage and innovation: this is a big step for the gallery, which finally decided to go beyond the established limits. Until now, they have focused mainly on works by European artists, starting from the time of the Renaissance and ending with the 20th century.

Julia Vlaskina