George Bellows was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1882. He attended Ohio State University, where he excelled in athletics and drawing, becoming a leading cartoonist for college publications. He left the university in 1904, before earning his degree, and moved to New York, where he studied painting for two years with Robert Henri at the New York School of Art. Bellows became Henri's star pupil, adopting his master's bravura, painterly handling and realist subject matter and remaining a close friend and admirer of the older artist for the rest of his life.
Soon after Bellows established himself in his own studio in 1906, his art began to attract critical attention. In 1908 he won a prize at the National Academy of Design and was elected an associate member the following year, the youngest artist to receive such an honor. In 1909 the artist married Emma Story, a fellow student at the New York School of Art, with whom he had two daughters. During this period he joined the staff of the Art Students League and was one of the twenty-five members of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors who organized the Armory Show, held in 1913. Five of his paintings and numerous drawings were exhibited in this important show.
Bellows began working in lithography in 1916 and produced some of his finest work in this medium. His prints appeared in books and magazines and he regularly contributed to the journal The Masses, which was edited by his friend, the artist John Sloan. While he was exploring the new medium, Bellows developed a strong interest in art theory. He was influenced by the color principles of Denman Ross and Hardesty Maratta, and the doctrine of "Dynamic Symmetry" espoused by Jay Hambidge.
Bellows is best known for his vibrant depictions of New York as a melting pot and for the raw passion of the artist's famous prize fight scenes. Bellows also executed landscape paintings during summer vacations. This began in 1911 when Bellows was introduced to Monhegan Island, Maine by Robert Henri. That visit resulted in Bellows spending his summers sketching from 1912 to 1919 along the coast of Maine, including Monhegan, Ogunquit, Camden, Matinicus and Criehaven, with the exception of 1917 when he traveled with his family to Carmel, California for a portrait commission and returned four months later via Santa Fe, New Mexico to visit Leon Kroll and Robert Henri.
In May of 1920, at the invitation of his friend Eugene Speicher, Bellows made his first visit to Woodstock, New York. In Woodstock Bellows liked both the varied landscape and presence of numerous artist friends. After the visit to Speicher, Bellows returned with his family in June to Woodstock and rented a home through the summer and fall. At summer's end in 1921, Bellows bought land at the bottom of Overlook Mountain and in 1922 built a home and studio there. Bellows spent from May through November each year in Woodstock. This was very productive. From 1920 to 1924 Bellows was able to produce over one hundred paintings of Woodstock, including both Mountain Orchard, 1922 and Children and Mountain, 1920.
On January 8, 1925 George Bellows, a robust and athletic man, died suddenly of appendicitis. He was forty-two years old and at the height of his fame. A memorial exhibition was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the year of his death. Bellows's work is represented in major museums throughout the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; the Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, WI; the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; and most completely at his hometown museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH.