The Barber Institute of Fine Arts hosts Bellows and the Body: The Real, the Ideal and the Nude from 21 October 2016 to 22 January 2017. This exhibition centres on the Barber’s recent acquisition of George Bellows’s Nude, Miss Bentham (1906) and his slightly later painting Nude Girl, Miss Leslie Hall (1909, left). These paintings, made early in Bellows’s career, have been displayed together just once before, at a 1910 exhibition in New York.
The exhibition, and the essays and films on this website, explore and contextualise Bellows’s and his peers’ nude studies through attention to the role of the life class and the study of anatomy in their art. The research explores their commitment to depicting imperfect, working bodies and their interest in contemporary developments in European painting. The microsite hosts original film material, commissioned especially for the research project, including analysis made in the course of conserving Nude, Miss Bentham.
More material will be added to the website during the course of the exhibition and beyond – including audio files, recording the responses and opinions of curators and academics to Bellows’s work and blog posts by the project’s artist in residence.
Left: George Bellows, Nude Girl, Miss Leslie Hall, 1909. Oil on canvas, 1999.5. © Terra Foundation for American Art