On View

Aunt Fanny

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Aunt Fanny

Alternate Title:
Old Lady in Black
Artist: George Bellows (American, 1882 - 1925)
Date: 1920
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Frame: 55 7/8 × 45 3/4 × 2 3/4 in. (141.9 × 116.2 × 7 cm.)
Image (visible): 43 1/2 × 33 1/2 in. (110.5 × 85.1 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Purchased with funds from the Edmundson Art Foundation, Inc., 1942.1
Accession number: 1942.1
Classification: painting
Copyright:Public Domain
Label TextThe first purchase with funds left by the Edmundson Estate was made in 1941 when the portrait of "Aunt Fanny" by George Bellows was acquired. Source: Bulletin, July 1955.
In the wrinkled skin and watchful eyes of the brisk old lady Bellows has reflected the feeling of affection tinged with awe that almost everyone feels about a favorite aunt. The artist's own aunt was Elinor ("Fanny" was a nickname) Smith, his mother's sister, who lived with the Bellowses when George was a child. Aunt Fanny, who had no children of her own, helped keep the house spick and span, saw to it that young George was alays dressed in starched tidiness. She even taught him to whistle while he was still in his baby carriage. In middle age, Aunt Fanny married and moved to California, but in 1920, when she was over 70, she came on a visit to her nephew's home in Woodstock, N.Y. There she returned to her old ways of scrubbing and washing everything spotlessly clean,a nd it was at this time that Bellows, by then a successful artist, painted his reverent portrait of her. Source: Time, December 21, 1953, p.60
Exhibition History"Commitment, Community and Controversy: The Des Moines Art Center Collections," Des Moines Art Center, January 24 - May 10, 1998

"From Body to Being: Reflections on the Human Image," Des Moines Art Center, Feb. 1 - May 4, 1997

"The Paintings of George Bellows," (circulated to: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Feb. 16 - May 10, 1992; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY: June 5 - Aug. 30, 1992; Columbus Museum of Art, OH: Oct. 11, 1992 - Jan. 3, 1993; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Feb. 20 - May 9, 1993)

"Selected Works from the Des Moines Art Center's Permanent Collection," organized and circulated by the Waterloo Municipal Galleries, sponsored by the National Bank of Waterloo, (circulated to: Waterloo Municipal Galleries, Oct. 24 - Nov. 29, 1983; Charles H. MacNider Museum, Mason City, Jan. 15 - Feb. 26, 1984; Muscatine Art Center, April 1 - May 13, 1984; Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, May 27 - July 1, 1984; Sioux City Art Center, July 15 - Aug. 26, 1984)

"Portraits by George Bellows," National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., Nov. 4, 1981 - Jan. 3, 1982

"George Wesley Bellows: Paintings, Drawings, Prints," Columbus Museum, OH, April 1 -- May 8, 1979 (circulated to: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, June 5, - Aug. 5, 1979; Des Moines Art Center, Sept. 10 - Oct. 21, 1979; Worcester Art Museum, Mass., Nov. 16 - Dec. 28, 1979)

"The Inner Circle," Milwaukee Art Center, Sept. 15 - Oct. 30, 1966

"In Focus: A Look at Realism in Art," Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, N.Y., Dec. 28, 1964 - Jan. 31, 1965

"American Sampler Exhibition: Paintings from Around the United States," Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, May 4 - June 9, 1963

"Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Prints from Twenty-three Iowa Collections," Dept. of Art, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, May 9 - Aug. 15, 1961

"George Bellows Retrospective Exhibition," National Gallery Of Art, Washington D.C., Jan. 19 - Feb. 24, 1957

"Twenty-fifth Anniversary Exhibition: Notable Paintings from Midwestern Collections," Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nov. 30, 1956 - Jan. 2, 1957

"The Exhibition of American Painting 1804-1954," Edwin Watts Chubb Library Art Gallery, Athens, OH, May 1 - June 15, 1954

"Summer Exhibition," School of Fine Arts, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, June 15 - Aug. 10, 1952

"Fine Arts Festival," Coe College, Cedar Rapids, May 7 - June 9, 1952

"Revolution and Tradition," Brooklyn Museum, N.Y., Nov. 14, 1951 - Jan. 5, 1952

"The Turn of the Century: American Artists 1890 - 1920," Des Moines Art Center, Oct. 1949

“19th and 20th century European and American art... The opening exhibition of the new Des Moines Art Center” June 2, 1948 - August 1, 1948

"American Heritage," Denver Art Museum, Mar. 15 - Apr. 15, 1948

"George Bellows: Paintings, Drawings and Prints," Art Institute of Chicago, Jan. 31 - Mar. 9, 1946

"19 Paintings from the J.S. Carpenter Collection," Des Moines Public Library Gallery, Summer, 1945

"A Memorial Exhibition of the Collection of Mr. and James Sanson Carpenter," Des Moines Association of Fine Arts Gallery, Oct. 8 - 30, 1939

"George Bellows Memorial Exhibition," Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y., Oct. 12 - Nov. 22, 1925

"Thirty-fourth Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture," Art Institute of Chicago, Nov. 3 - Dec. 11, 1921 (Painting was awarded the Norman Wait Harris Gold Medal and Prize)

"National Arts Club Annual Member's Exhibition," N.Y., 1921, (painting was awarded 1st prize)
Published ReferencesDES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, a catalog of selections from the permanent collection published in 1985, ref. pp.32 & 33, color ill. pl. no.III, p.99

ANNUAL REPORT NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, 1921-1922, N.Y., 1922, ill. frontispiece

"The Exhibition of American Painting 1804-1954," Edwin Watts Chubb Library Art Gallery, Athens, OH, 1954, cat. no.34

"George Bellows Retrospective Exhibition," National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., 1957, cat. no.48, ill. p.82

"George Bellows: Paintings, Drawings and Prints," Art Institute of Chicago, 1946, cat. no.44, ill. p.48

"Twenty-fifth Anniversary Exhibition: Notable Paintings from Midwestern Collections," Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, 1956, cat. ref.

John I. H. Baur, REVOLUTION AND TRADITION IN MODERN AMERICAN ART, Harvard University Press, 1954, ill. p.124

"Public Favorites (33)," TIME MAGAZINE, Dec. 21, 1953, pp.60 & 61, full page color ill.

"Revolution and Tradition," Brooklyn Museum, N. Y., 1951, cat. no.88, ill. p.16

Florence Margaret Daniels, WHY ART?, Nelson-Hall, Inc., Chicago, 1978, ill. p.8

"Portraits by George Bellows," National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., 1981, cat. ref. pp.25 & 45, color ill. p.45

"American Sampler Exhibition: Paintings from Around the United States," Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, 1963, cat. no.6, ill.

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO BULLETIN, vol. XV, Nov./Dec. 1921, ill. p.178

"Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Prints from Twenty-three Iowa Collections," Dept. of Art, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1961, cat. no.17

DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER, Oct. 10, 1976, ill.

Donald Braider, "George Bellows and the Ashcan School of Painting," Doubleday, New York, 1971, ill. pl. no.26

Charles H. Morgan, GEORGE BELLOWS, PAINTER OF AMERICA, New York, 1965, ill. p.350

"In Focus: A Look at Realism in Art," Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, N. Y., 1964, cat. ill. no.7

"George Bellows Memorial Exhibition," Metropolitan Museum of Art," New York, 1925, cat. no.40, p.80

ALL THE ARTS MAGAZINE, vol.4, Mar. 1921, p.29

AN UNCOMMON VISION: THE DES MOINES ART CENTER, Des Moines Art Center, 1998, ref. pp.28 & 54, color ill. p.55

Robert L. Polley, ed. GREAT ART TREASURES IN AMERICA'S SMALLER MUSEUMS, New York, 1967, ill. p.105

Eloise Spaeth, AMERICAN ART MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES: AN INTRODUCTION TO LOOKING, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1960, ref. p.145

"19th and 20th Century European and American Art," Des Moines Art Center, 1948, cat. no.3

Unknown clipping with photograph of Mr. Bellows and AUNT FANNY painting, 1921

Emma S. Bellows, THE PAINTINGS OF GEORGE BELLOWS, New York, 1929, ill. p.101

"The Inner Circle," Milwaukee Art Center, 1966, cat. ill. no.9

"Selected Works from the Des Moines Art Center's Permanent Collection," Waterloo Municipal Galleries, 1983, cat. no.3

"George Wesley Bellows: Paintings, Drawings, Prints," Columbus Museum, OH, 1979, cat. no.47, ill. p.58

"American Heritage," Denver Art Museum, 1948, cat. no.67

DMAC APPOINTMENT CALENDAR for 1972, color ill.

DES MOINES REGISTER, article by George Shane, Jan. 22, 1942, ill.

"National Arts Club Annual Member's Exhibition," New York, 1921, cat. ill. (painting awarded first prize)

Michael Quick, et al., THE PAINTINGS OF GEORGE BELLOWS, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Los Angeles County Museum, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1992, color ill. fig.38

"Thirty-fourth Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture," Art Institute of Chicago, 1921, cat. no.16 (painting awarded the Norman Wait Harris Gold Medal and Prize)

Mary Sayre Haverstock, "George Bellows: An Artist in Action", Merrell Publishers Ltd., 2007, color ill. pg. 134
entirely unexpected