Kids (Primary Title)
The loose brushwork that George Bellows’s teacher Robert Henri advised—a painterly application emulating works by such artists such as Honoré Daumier, Édouard Manet, and Diego Velázquez—is evident in this masterful painting. With the rowdy group of unsupervised boys (one of whom smokes a cigarette) in front of a tenement fence, Kids remains one of the most archetypal images of the Ashcan School. Here, naturalism is less important than the broad brushstrokes necessary to suggest the dynamics of play and rough-and- tumble exuberance. Capturing the democratic tenets of Henri’s Ashcan vision, Kids helps to rewrite the rules of what counts as “art” in the first place.
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
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