Polo at Lakefield
George Bellows
Polo at Lakefield

Gallery L
American Watercolors, Drawings, etc.

In Gallery L, one could find a comprehensive selection of American graphic work, including watercolors, drawings, pastels, and etchings. As illustrators, many of the Ashcan artists showed their work in Gallery L, though there was no conscious effort to configure their work together. Almost all of the Ashcans were at least peripherally involved in planning and organizing the show (Everett Shinn is the only exception). Robert Henri was nominated for the presidency of the AAPS after J. Alden Weir resigned but declared he "did not want to be president of anything" (Perlman, Davies 204). Henri, extremely influential in supporting the Ashcans' painting of modern life, generally confined himself to posed types. Portraits like The Gypsy in Gallery N focused on an exotic otherness that many Ashcans sought in their subjects, but unlike many of the Ashcan paintings of modern life, Henri preferred posed portraiture.

Most of the examples shown in Gallery L and elsewhere in the Armory do not support the Ashcans' reputation as muckrackers. William Glackens, chairman of the AAPS' Domestic Committee, contributed two oil paintings to Gallery N. Although Glackens had modified his formal method from the dark palette of Henri and Frans Hals to the glistening brushstrokes of Renoir, he did continue to paint metropolitan scenes but did not show them at the Armory.

While Glackens' work reflected the influence of impressionism, George Bellows' work in Gallery L illustrated his abiding interest in all forms of public entertainment. Bellows, who cultivated an image of himself as a master sportsman, painted not only the controversial boxing matches found in Lightweight Champion of the World and Between Rounds, but also circus arenas and polo fields. Polo at Lakefield (above) reflects his uncritical appreciation for all forms of public sport. Though Bellows was intimately involved with The Masses and taught at the anarchist Ferrer School, he was also accepted as a full academician to the National Academy of Design in 1913.


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