See first ever George Bellows painting at The National Gallery

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If you're a fan of the artist George Bellows, then you're in for a treat as The National Gallery has acquired the 1912 painting 'Men of the Docks' by George Bellows (1882–1925).

This is the first ever painting by the acclaimed American artist to enter a UK public collection.

In a new initiative, the work was purchased from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia for $25.5 million. It is the first partnership of its kind between an American college and a UK gallery and marks a change in how the National Gallery acquires paintings.

The painting depicts an industrial scene with workers gathering on a cold winter's day on the New York waterfront.

It is an 'outstanding example of the socially engaged, modern realism that was central to American art in the early 20th century'.

National Gallery Director, Dr Nicholas Penny, said: "Bellows has almost always been seen in the context of American painting, but the way he painted owed much to Manet, and his depiction of the violence and victims of New York derived from Goya and earlier Spanish art. He will seem as modern and original as ever in the National Gallery, but our visitors – many of them from North America – will understand him in a different way. We are thrilled to have been able to purchase this painting."

'Men of the Docks' goes on display in Room 43 of the National Gallery alongside major Impressionist works including snow scenes and urban vistas by Monet and Pissarro, thus linking Bellows with his closest European avant-garde antecedents.

The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square, a few minutes' walk from Charing Cross Station. It is one of the capital's top attractions and is close to many other museums and galleries, as well as a host of top London hotels.