The American Titian
George Bellows' Homage to Sacred and Profane Love

The American Art auction on 19 November at Bonhams New York will feature one of the last figural works by prominent early-20th century American artist, George Bellows. 'Two Women', an allegorical work referencing a Renaissance masterpiece by Titian, is estimated at $1,000,000–1,500,000.

Bellows' early artistic career was hugely inspired by the dynamic hustle and bustle of New York City. He studied under Robert Henri, from whom he learned to observe and portray everyday aspects of modern American life, a deviation from popular academic painting and Impressionism. Painted in 1924, a year before Bellows' sudden death, Two Women is an unorthodox homage to Titian's Sacred and Profane Love (c. 1514).

Titan's iconic canvas depicts a clothed woman sitting at a water fountain beside a nude Venus. Bellows' nude and clothed female subjects evoke this image, but they are relocated to the parlor of Bellows' own home in Woodstock, New York. The painting has been widely exhibited at numerous galleries and prestigious museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum.

A spectacular work by renowned American Impressionist, Childe Hassam, entitled Lady in a Garden (c. 1890), will also star in the auction. The oil on canvas represents one of the many gardens which Hassam visited on Appledore Island, off the coast of New Hampshire, with Hassam's quick, light brushstrokes create a playful lighting effect. In the center of his composition is a silhouette of a female figure, likely Mrs. Childe Hassam, who has stopped to admire the blooming foliage. It is estimated at $800,000 – $1,200,000.

Scouts of Many Trails by the prolific American artist, Norman Rockwell, is another highly anticipated lot. Estimated at $300,000–500,000, the work depicts an old and seasoned sailor, with a parrot on his shoulder, regales his young charges with tales of past adventures. The oil sketch is most likely an early compositional idea for Scouts of Many Trails, but differs vastly from the final version.

Rockwell's illustrations graced the covers of a great number of magazines including Life and The Saturday Evening Post. One such featured work in the upcoming auction, A Light Haired Woman Will Cross Your Path (Fortune Teller with Young Couple) was on the cover of the 12 August 1920 issue of Life. This intimate, dimly lit scene conveys an encounter between a young couple and a fortune teller, and is estimated at $200,000–300,000.

A work by another great illustrator and cartoonist, John Philip Falter, entitled Golf Driving Range will also be on offer. The work was the cover illustration for the 26 July 1952 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $80,000–120,000.

For more information, click here to see the online catalog.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to https://www.bonhams.com

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