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Introduction

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

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Video

LUNCHTIME LECTURE: Introducing George Bellows and the Ashcan School

Dr John Fagg

Director of American Studies, University of Birmingham

A major American painting formerly owned by Andy Warhol has been acquired by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.  The painting entitled Nude : Miss Bentham is by artist George Bellows dated 1906.

Video

Roundtable Discussion

Christopher Riopelle, Frances Fowle, Katherine Bourguignon, Nicola Kalinsky

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Video

“How does that help the working classes?”: Nudity and Feminism in The Masses

Rachel Sanders

History of Art and Design, Oxford Brookes University

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Video

Commercial Illustration’s Immaterial Bodies

Professor Jennifer Greenhill

Associate Professor of Art History, University of Southern California

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Video

Body/Building: New York City around 1910

Dr Adam Greenhalgh

Associate Curator, National Gallery of Art, Washington

George Bellows, Nude, Miss Bentham, Oil on canvas, 1906. ©The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

Video

Miss Bentham’s Body in Art and Law

Dr Amy Werbel

Associate Professor, History of Art Department State University of New York - Fashion Institute of Technology

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Video

George Bellows’s Body

Dr John Fagg

Director of American Studies, University of Birmingham

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Web Chat

Ask the Curator

Dr John Fagg

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Essays

The Ashcan School and the Life Class
Philip Wilson Steer, Seated Nude: The Black Hat (detail), about 1900. Oil on canvas. Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1941. © Tate, London 2016

Essays

The Naked Truth: Paintings of Unclothed Women by George Bellows and his British Contemporaries
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Video

The Anatomy of an Artist’s Model

Professor Alice Roberts

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Video

Under The Skin: Restoring Miss Bentham

Ruth Bubb

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Essays

My Search for the Mysterious Model
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Essays

George Bellows and Miss Bentham
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Essays

Real and Ideal
A major American painting formerly owned by Andy Warhol has been acquired by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.  The painting entitled Nude : Miss Bentham is by artist George Bellows dated 1906.

Audio

Body Talk