The Black Hat (Emma in a Black Hat)


George Bellows (1882-1925), The Black Hat (Emma in a Black Hat), lithograph, 1921. Reference: Morse 113. From the edition of 55. Signed in pencil by the artist, and also inscribed in pencil by the printer “Bolton Brown imp”, lower margin. In good condition (tiny fox mark lower margin center, faintest pale time staining), on cream/tan thin Japan paper, with margins, 13 1/8 x 9 1/4, the sheet 14 1/4 x 10 3/8 inches.

Provenance: Estate of Ralph Spencer; Allison Gallery (H.V. Allison and Company, 11 East 57th Street, New York, NY was a noted gallery famed for handling Bellows prints. Their label is appended to this mat).

A fine atmospheric impression.

Bellows created a number of portraits of the women in his life wearing black hats, and several of Emma in various poses; she can also be seen wearing a black hat (surely this one) in the Tennis Tournament. Here, she has a plaintive expression, set off by the spectacular patterning of her garments. In our view, The Black Hat is Bellows’s finest portrait in lithography.