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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

Two Women

Artist: George Wesley Bellows (1882 - 1925)
Date: 1924
59 1/4 × 65 1/2 in. (150.5 × 166.4 cm)
Framed: 68 in. × 72 1/8 in. × 3 3/8 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2014.25
Signed: l.r.: Geo Bellows
On View
Accession Number: 2014.25
ProvenanceEstate of the Artist, 1925; to Emma Story Bellows [1884-1959] (Artist’s wife), New York, NY, 1925; to Estate of Emma Story Bellows, 1959; (H.V. Allison & Co., New York, NY); purchased by Karl Jaeger [b. 1930], Columbus, OH, 1967; (Bonhams, New York, NY), November 19, 2014, sale 21807, lot 19; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2014
Label TextIn the early twentieth century, artists tapped into European Renaissance subjects and traditions to elevate American art. Bellows used Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love as his source for Two Women. In Titian’s painting, a seated bride represents profane love, and Venus, who holds the burning flame of eternal happiness, symbolizes sacred love. In Bellows’s version, the women sit in a modern-day living room wearing contemporary dress. The nude figure of sacred love holds a rosary, while the fully clothed woman representing profane love clutches a purse.

When Two Women debuted, critics recognized its playfulness, “No canvas seen here for a long time is so full of daring, of invention, or the spirit of adventure, as well as a quite inescapable note of humor.”