George Bellows (1882-1925), Introductions, lithograph, 1921, signed in pencil lower right, also signed by the printer Bolton Brown lower left and annotated “imp.” Reference: Mason 97, only state, from the edition of 57. In very good condition, 8 1/2 x 7, the sheet 10 1/2 x 8 15/16 inches.
A very fine impression, printed on very thin laid paper.
Introductions is more successful aesthetically than the larger earlier version of the same subject matter (Introducing the Champion, M. 26). Here the figures are larger relative to the entire composition; the focus of course is on the champion and the announcer introducing him, as the challenger is being given some last minute advice by his manager in the background left. The noisy crowd, just outside the ring, cheers the fighters. The excitement is palpable.
Bellows had achieved a measure of artistic renown before embarking on printmaking, e.g., he was elected to the conservative National Academy of Design in 1909, and was at the same time an active member of the more radical Henri group. He added printmaking to his artistic accomplishments in 1916, after meeting the printer George Miller, who was beginning to work actively with artists at about that time (although Bellows had experimented with lithography, and in fact had pulled some lithographs on a press he had acquired in the winter of 1915-16). Many of the Bellows early lithographs are based on drawings he made prior to the onset of his lithographic work.