Florence Davey1914 by George Bellows

The artist's record book notes the date the painting was presented to Randall Davey. According to a 15 December 1980 letter in NGA curatorial files from William Davey, son of Randall and Florence Davey, the couple were divorced in 1930. While unsure whether ownership of the painting was specified in the terms of the divorce, he assumes that Randall gave the work to his ex-wife. He also relates the following: "George Bellows and Randall Davey used to shoot a lot of pool together and although Bellows was a good baseball player he lost a lot of money to Randall Davey attempting to beat him at pool. That is why he painted a portrait of Randall Davey's wife and 'presented' it to him. It was in payment of a gambling debt."

A review of a Bellows retrospective at the National Gallery in the New Yorker magazine (subscription required to read the whole piece, but not to see a slideshow or an abstract of Peter Schjeldahl's review) says Bellows, in his portraiture, was struggling to find his artistic voice and would "lavish attention attention on settings and clothes, at the expense of vital presence." ... look at Bellows' portrait of Florence Davey... and see if you agree.
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Imported from: upload.wikimedia.org
Media: oil on wood