Dave Stevens


(posted on 14 May 2024)

Black oystercatchers are easy to spook. They are simple to identify with their black bodies and
orange beaks and you’ll see them along the shore of rocky beaches where they hunt for the
shellfish that live there. If you have ever tried to shuck oysters you will appreciate the strength of
the oystercatcher’s beak. Oystercatchers are masters at opening oysters, mussels, and limpets for
their meals.

George Bellows, who painted at the beginning of the 20th Century, was a member of the
American Ashcan School of art and was purported to have given the name to the group. They
were non political, although many of the works showed life as it was experienced by lower- and
middle-income earners. A piece that captivated me was “Noon” which shows a New York scene
where a steam engine contrasts with a horse drawn cart. The painting is divided into light and
dark areas that are like other works Bellows created a year or two later which catch the action of
fights, such as “Stag at Sharkey’s” or “Dempsey and Fripo”. Although he painted in an Impressionistic style, his works were recognized for their realism, and he differed from the French in that he chose subjects that portrayed active, volatile aspects of city life.

George Bellows - Ashcan School of Art