Online Exhibits@Yale

Dance in a Madhouse

Dance in a Madhouse

Dance in a Madhouse, 1917, George Bellows, U.S.A. 1882-1925, Lithograph, Bequest of Clements C. Fry 1955

This 19 year old woman presents with three weeks of increasing irritability, anxiety, aggressiveness and sleep disturbances. Her parents are concerned about her change in behavior. She has a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She denies alcohol, smoking, and illicit drug use.

American lithographer George Bellows based this piece on his memories of visits to the local State Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He sought to capture the gloom of the dance hall and the depravity of its attendants with dark tones and subtly exaggerated posing. Of note, Bellows’ subject material and use of black to capture the atmosphere of the dance have been described as direct references to Goya’s famous 1794 oil painting, The Madhouse.

Dance in a Madhouse