George Bellows (1882-1925), Tennis (Tennis Tournament), lithograph, 1921, signed in pencil lower right, also signed and annotated by the printer Bolton Brown, imp lower left, and numbered 37. Reference: Mason 71, only state, from the edition of about 63. In very good condition, repaired tears in margins left and bottom not affecting image, with margins; 18 3/8 x 20 inches. A superb impression, printed on a thin Japan paper. A souvenir of the summers Bellows spent with his family at Middletown, Rhode Island. Emma Bellows can be seen wearing the black hat, sitting at the left. Critics have speculated that the Rhode Island lithographs and paintings provided unusual subject matter for Bellows, who often focused on social or political issues in his work, but a broader view of Bellows indicates that aesthetic considerations were generally of primary concern to him. For example, in this lithograph the spectators and setting are given greater primacy than the tennis match itself. Still, Bellows depicts the spectators, including his wife, as an elegant and rather pretentious group, a perspective consistent with his social viewpoint. Bellows created two major paintings related to this lithograph: Tennis Tournament (at Newport), in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Tennis at Newport in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. In addition there is at least one drawing nearly identical to Mason 71, Tennis at Newport, at the Arkansas Arts Center; he also created a smaller, less ambitious lithograph on the same subject (The Tournament, Mason 72).
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