The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 26, 2016

Stag at Sharkey's, 1909

oil on canvas, Framed: 110.00 x 140.50 x 8.50 cm (43 1/4 x 55 5/16 x 3 5/16 inches); Unframed: 92.00 x 122.60 cm (36 3/16 x 48 1/4 inches). Hinman B. Hurlbut Collection 1133.1922

An avid fan of boxing, Bellows recorded several images of the sport throughout his career, and Stag at Sharkey's is his most famous. Sharkey's Athletic Club, located across the street from the artist's Manhattan studio, was actually a tavern with a back room that accommodated a boxing ring. Because public prizefighting was illegal in New York at the time, private events had to be arranged in order for a match to take place. Participation in the ring was limited to members of the club, a loosely organized group of local semi-professionals. Whenever an outsider competed at the club, he was given temporary membership and known as a "stag."
One of America's most dynamic artists, George Bellows chose painting over a career as a professional baseball player. Sports, however, continued to interest him and provide subjects for his paintings. This canvas depicts a fight at Tom Sharkey's Athletic Club, a popular entertainment bar, located directly across the street from the artist's studio in New York City. The two fighters seem equally matched, making it impossible to predict the outcome. Bellows captured the force and energy of the struggle by blurring the scene's details with rapid brushwork. The low viewpoint places us among the crowd, so that we become a part of the spectacle.

signed upper left: Geo Bellows, / Copyrighted 190[9]; inscribed on back: Geo Bellows / 146 E. 19th St. N.Y. / "Club Night" / 67.

Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The One Hundred and Fifth Annual Exhibition of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (23 January-20 March 1910), cat. no. 323, listed p. 37 as Club Night. New York, Galleries 29-31 West Thirty-Fifth St., Exhibition of Independent Artists (1-27 April 1910), cat. no 20 as Club Night. New York, Madison Gallery, (early 1911), see Bellows: The Boxing Pictures p. 75. Syracuse, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Summer Exhibition of Paintings by American Artists (10 May-1 October 1911), no. 1 as Club Night; see Bulletin of Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts (October, 1911. Chicago, Marshall Filed (1911), see Bellows: The Boxing Pictures p. 75. Curtis Studios (1911), see Bellows: The Boxing Pictures p. 75. Cedar Rapids, IA, The Cedar Rapids Art Association, Art Gallery, Public Library, Iowa, Fifth Annual Art Exhibition (5-14 February 1913), no. 2. Rochester, NY, Rochester Industrial Exposition (7-19 September 1914), no. 6 as Club Night; see Bellows: The Boxing Pictures p. 75. Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings by George Bellows (10 December 1914-3 January 1915), no. 16 as Club Night; see Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago (1 January 1915), vol. IX, no. 1, p. 2-4, 8. Detroit, Detroit Museum of Art, Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows (6-29 January 1915), no. 16 as Club Night; see Bulletin of The Detroit Museum of Art (January, 1915), vol. IX, no. 1, pp. 2, 4. Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, Paintings by George Bellows (7-28 February 1915), no. 16 as Club Night. Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Paintings by Lester D. Boronda; Paintings by George Bellows (4-31 May 1915), no. 37 as Club Night; see Bulletin of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (May, 1915), vol. IV, no. 5, p. 46. Muskegon, MI, Hackley Art Gallery, Exhibition of Oil Paintings by George Bellows (9 June-August 1915), as Club Night. Worcester, MA, Worcester Art Museum, Exhibition of Paintings by George Bellows, New York City (5-26 September 1915), no. 13 as Club Night. Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum, Special Exhibition of Paintings by Mr. George Bellows (October, 1915), no. 4 as Club Night. New York, Sponsored by The Junior Art Patrons of America, Fine Arts Building, First Retrospective Exhibition of American Art (7-21 May 1921), cat. no. 10, listed p. 13, not illus. Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Second Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting (8 June-10 July 1922), no cat.; see The Bulletin of The Cleveland Museum of Art (June, 1922), pp. 95-102, illus. p. 106. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Exhibition of the Work of George Bellows (12 October-22 November 1925), cat. no. 7, illus. p. 48; also included introductory essays. Columbus, The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, The George Bellows Exhibition (22 January-1 March 1931), see Bulletin of The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts (January, 1931), vol. 1, no. 1, cat. no. 269, illus. p. I, 15. Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, Olympic Competition and Exhibition of Art (30 July-31 August 1932), cat. no. 728, illus. pages not numbered. New York, The Museum of Modern Art, American Painting & Sculpture 1862-1932 (31 October 1932-31 January 1933), cat. no. 1, listed, p. 25, not illus. Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture (1 June-1 November 1933), illus. cat. no. 434, listed p. 60. Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, A Loan Exhibition of American Paintings Since 1900 (10 December 1933-31 January 1934). Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition of The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Official Art Exhibit of The Great Lakes Exposition (26 June-4 October 1936), cat. no. 346, listed p. 129-130. New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Realists, 1900-1914 (9 February-5 March 1937), cat. no. 8, illus., listed p. 12. Cleveland, The Cleveland Mus

By 1922 (Marie Sterner, New York, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)1
1922- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

Footnotes

1Marie Sterner, owner of the Marie Sterner Gallery in New York, was Bellows' dealer.

Library materials about George Bellows (54)

Detail Views