For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2011

Media Contact:
Nancy Colvin, 614.629.0303

OSU Libraries, Columbus Museum of Art , Announce Bellows Acquisition

(Columbus, OH) - The Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) and the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) have partnered in the acquisition of the record books and ledger of internationally renowned artist and Columbus native George Bellows (1882 – 1925). 

The acquisition was announced by Ohio State’s Director of Libraries Carol Pitts Diedrichs and CMA Executive Director Nannette V. Maciejunes.

Bellows, widely acclaimed as the greatest American artist of his generation, maintained meticulous records of his artistic production including sales and exhibition showings, including documentation of works that were destroyed. He augmented the record books with more than 200 thumbnail sketches of his original art. 

“These documents are a unique research source for the study of the historical book market, and the taste and culture of early 20th century America,” Diedrichs said. “The acquisition of the books and ledger are in keeping with the Libraries’ mission of acquiring and preserving primary research materials.”

Bellows’ connections to Columbus made retaining the volumes locally a desirable outcome, Diedrichs said.  Bellows was born and raised in Columbus and attended The Ohio State University.

“This acquisition from the Bellows Trust is an important one for Columbus,” Maciejunes said. “The record books provide context for the Museum’s vast collection of paintings and lithographs by Bellows and play a major role in ongoing scholarship on the artist.”

“George Bellows’ three record books constitute the most important primary source for the study of his career and will be an invaluable research tool for the upcoming retrospective exhibition George Bellows (1882–1925), organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington. They document the dates, sales, and exhibition histories for his paintings and drawings with some entries accompanied by thumbnail sketches and color notations. This detailed information is essential to understanding Bellows’ achievements and will continue to inform Bellows scholarship in the future,” said Charles Brock, associate curator of American and British paintings, National Gallery of Art.

As the joint owners of the record books, the Museum and the Libraries will collaborate on programming, exhibition and research availability of these unique resources.

In addition to storing the materials in the secure, atmospherically controlled Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, located in the Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave., Diedrichs said the Bellows documents have been digitized and will be available online through OSU’s Knowledge Bank (https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/), a digital repository. 

The Bellows Collection was acquired from the Bellows Trust that assumed stewardship of the materials upon the death of the artist’s daughter, Jean Bellows Booth. 

OSUL is ranked 12th among public university libraries by the Association of Research Libraries. The Libraries include nine special collections available for use by Ohio State University faculty, students, visiting scholars and the general public.

The Columbus Museum of Art is committed to its mission of creating great experiences with art for everyone. The Museum’s collection has been celebrated as a treasure trove of European and American Modernism and includes important examples of Impressionism, German Expressionism, and Cubism. CMA also houses the world’s largest collection of paintings and lithographs by George Bellows.

#     #     #