Stag at Sharkeys 1909 by George Bellows | Oil Painting Reproduction
75 cm
Stag at Sharkeys 1909
Artist: George Bellows
Size: 56 x 75 cm (22.0 x 29.5")
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Price: $299.00
Selected size: 56 x 75 cm (22.0 x 29.5")

Who are George Bellows’ Boxers?

Painted in 1909, this astounding painting presents two fighters in the ring. The action takes place in Sharkey’s private athletics club and bar. Situated immediately opposite Bellows’ studio, the artist was a frequent visitor.

The boxers themselves were probably members of the club. Outsiders could fight, but only with a temporary paid membership. Known as “stags”, these outside fighters were often young, male and lower class.

In the artwork, Bellows utilizes quick brushstrokes to form the bodies of the two men. This consequently creates a sense of immediacy and blurred motion, simulating their quick movements in the ring.

Sharkey’s itself was a rowdy drinking saloon and backroom boxing establishment, founded by Tom “Sailor” Sharkey. Sharkey was an ex-US Marine and actively sought the comradery of his previous military life.

Nonetheless, public boxing was actually illegal in New York at the time. This explains the secretive “backroom” nature of the club. Indeed, popular commentators considered the sport barbaric and uncouth.

Despite this, many popular figures defended the sport (and George Bellows paintings), most notably President Theodore Roosevelt.

What is the Meaning of the Stag at Sharkey’s Painting?

Stag at Sharkey’s simply represents two fighters in the ring. Additional allegorical meanings are sparse, but the various characters offer a fascinating insight into humanity and society in early twentieth century New York.

For some commentators, boxing offered a powerful analogy for the flourishing of the fittest, strongest and most masculine figures in society. Despite the appealing nature of this interpretation, Bellows once commented: “I don’t know anything about boxing” sardonically adding “I’m just painting two men trying to kill each other.”

George Bellows oil paintings on canvas form part of the “Ashcan School” movement. Above all, this revolutionary approach to art focused on depictions of everyday life in poor neighborhoods, with a strong social message.

Intriguingly, Bellows included a self-portrait in the painting. To the right-hand side of the composition, the bald man looking down (concentrating on his sketchpads) is the artist himself.

In fact, the composition is incredibly carefully created. Whilst the men move in a blur of flesh (painted with a rapid and spontaneous “wet on wet” method), their shapes are no accident.

The diagonal line of the left fighter’s body is counterposed by the referee on the right, with arm outstretched. The entire composition consequently approximates a triangle.

As viewers, we’re placed alongside the audience. The figure in the foreground looks back at us whilst pointing towards the fight, inviting us deeper into the action.

Why Did George Bellows Paint Boxers?

George Bellows' art demonstrates his enduring love and fascination for contemporary sports. From an early age, the artist enjoyed athletics, baseball and basketball.

During his high school senior year, a scout from the Indianapolis baseball team tried to poach the young man. Bellows enrolled at Ohio State University instead however, where he found his love of art and illustration.

Despite his personal love of baseball and basketball, it’s George Bellows paintings of boxers that earned the artist a place in the canon of American art. His series depicting amateur boxing matches were unparalleled before or since.

Other notable George Bellows boxers paintings include Members of this Club, Club Night and Dempsey and Firpo. Characterized by dark, seedy atmospheres juxtaposed with bright, vivid bodies, these artworks all provide an intense sense of motion and dynamism.

Stag at Sharkeys by George Bellows oil painting reproduction is created entirely by hand by one of our large team of resident professional artists.


Find and buy George Bellows reproductions and oil paintings here

George Bellows was American realist painter of the early 20th century, best known for his tough portrayals of life in New York City. George Bellows was born in Columbus, Ohio, and studied art at the New York School of Art with another American painter Robert Henri. Bellows is associated with the Ashcan School Movement, known for their paintings of gritty scenes of the poorer neighborhoods of New York City. Although Bellows famously produced a series of paintings showing New York and the surrounding suburbs in snow, he is best known for his fight scenes of amateur boxers. George Bellows painting Stag at Sharkeys is probably his most famous oil painting.

Visit here to see some of George Bellows paintings of boxers and New York urban life.


We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.

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Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.

We are able to offer a framing service intercontinental U.S. Please contact us if you would like a quotation. Alternatively, should you prefer, we can recommend a framer in your area.

Notes About Your Painting

Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.

Why settle for a poster or paper art print when you can own a real oil painting on canvas? This is a hand painted oil painting reproduction of a masterpiece, by a talented artist no electronic transfer methods are employed.

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