Forty-Two Kids is an oil painting created by American realist painter, George Wesley Bellows in August 1907. The painting portrays a group of naked and partially clothed boys participating in various activities on a New York City wharf. Bellows was a renowned artist whose bold depictions of urban life in NYC earned him the title of the most acclaimed American artist of his generation.
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Bellows left his hometown in 1904 to study art in New York City under Robert Henri. He became an advocate of modernism and was committed to artists’ freedom of expression. The painting is part of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Bellows’ use of bold and heavy brushwork creates a raw, gritty portrayal of urban life, capturing the energy and movement of the boys on the wharf. The painting’s atmosphere exudes a sense of freedom and playfulness, making it a significant work of art from the early 20th century. “Forty-Two Kids” embodies Bellows’ unique style, which distinguished him as a leading figure of American modernism.