contact resources image gallery about this site

Biography

Leland Bell was born in Cambridge, Maryland in 1922 to Russian-Jewish parents. In high school he became impassioned by painting and Jazz. It was at the Phillip's Collection in Washington, DC. that Leland first galvanized his life-long relationship with the tradition of painting and with museums; it was in museums that he taught himself and others.

After graduating from high school he left home for Provincetown, Massachusetts to be near the painter Karl Knaths, and then New York City, where he worked various jobs and befriended his painting idols. Leland met and married Louisa Matthiasdottir in 1944. They had Temma, their only child in 1945.

Leland lived and worked as a dedicated painter in New York City, where he also became a well-loved and respected painting teacher and lecturer. He and his wife Louisa spent extended periods of time in Paris, France and Reykjavík, Iceland.

Leland Bell was a self-taught painter whose passion for the discipline of painting has inspired and influenced many. He was also a fierce advocate for artists that he admired like Karl Knaths, Mondrian, Jean Helion and Andre Derain. Leland died in 1991.

Photographs

Bibliography

Books and Exhibition Catalogues

A Family of Artists: Leland Bell, Louisa Matthiasdottir, TemmaBell, intro­duction by Petrun Petursdottir and essays by Adalsteinn Ingolfsson, Jed Perl, and Nicholas Fox Weber. TheHafnarfjordur Institute of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjordur,Iceland, 2000.

Leland Bell, introduction by R.B. Kitaj. Theo Waddington Gallery, London, 1980.

Leland Bell/ Louisa Matthiasdottir. Austin Arts Center,Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, 1967.

Leland Bell, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Temma Bell, A Family of Painters introduction by Lawrence Campbell. The Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio, 1973.

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Jed Perl,editor, with extended references to Bell in contributions by Jed Perl and Martica Sawin. Nesutgafan Publishing, Reykjavik, Iceland, distributed in the U.S. by Hudson Hills Press, New York, 1999.

Nicholas Fox Weber. Leland Bell. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1986.

Still Lifes from a Shared Life, intro­duction by Jon Proppe and Martica Sawin. The Hafnarfjordur Institute of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland, 2007.

Articles by Leland Bell

"The Case for Derain as an Immortal." ArtNews S9 (May 1960): 22-27, 61-62.

"Esthetics Replaced by Sociology?" Art News 68 (January 1970): 59.

"Helion Paints the Impossible." ArtNews 63 (November 1964): 36-37, 66-67.
 

Selected Articles and Reviews

Ashbery, John. "Bell: Virtuosity without Self-Interest" ArtNews 68 (February 1970): 44-45, 64-67.

Bass, Ruth. "Leland Bell at Robert Schoelkopf." ArtNews 89 (September 1990): 165.

Bass, Ruth. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. ArtNews 82 (Summer 1983): 200.

Bullard, CeCe. "Artists Draw on Talent, Potential," review of Drawing on Friendship exhibition at Reynolds Gallery. Richmond Times Dispatch, March 30, 1994.

Burton, Scott. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. ArtNews 67 (April 1968): 8-10.

Campbell, Lawrence. "Five Americans Face Reality." ArtNews 62 (September 1963): 25-27, 54.

Campbell, Lawrence. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. ArtNews 65 (March 1966): 11.

Campbell, Lawrence. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. ArtNews 73 (May 1974): 100-102.

Fleming, Lee. Review of Phillips Collection retrospective exhibition. ArtNews 86 (May 1987): 49-50.

Forgey, Benjamin. "The Exacting Tensions of Leland Bell; A Striking Retrospective at the Phillips." The Washington Post, January 24, 198

­Fort, Ilene Susan. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. ArtsMagazine 57 (June 1983): 36.

Gruen, John. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. -NewYork Herald Tribune Sunday Magazine, April 26, 1964.

Henry, Gerrit. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. Artin America, 71 (October 1983): 179.

Hess, Thomas B. "U.S. Painting: Some Recent Directions." ArtNews Annual 25 (1956) 74-98,174-80.

Hollander, John. "Leland Bell: Gesture and Trope." Artin America 7: part 2 (July 1987) 113-19.

Johnson, Kenneth. Review of exhibition at Center for Figurative Painting. The New York Times, December 8, 2000.

Kessler, Pamela. "Leland Bell's Painterly Pauses." TheWashington Post,  January 30, 1987.

Kramer, Hilton. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. The New, York Times, February 26, 1966.

Kramer, Hilton. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. The New York Times, May 21, 1976.

Matter, Mercedes. "Leland Bell, 1922-1991 " New York Studio School annual newsletter, 1992: 4.

Mellow, James R. Review of exhibition at Poindexter Gallery. ArtsMagazine 31 (April 1957): 59.

Mellow, James R. "When 'What' IS as Important as 'How.''' TheNew York Times, March 1, 1970.

Neumann, Thomas. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. Art News 63 (April 1964): 12.

Obituary. Art in America 79 (November 1991): 174. Obituary. Art News 90 (November 1991): 31.

Perl, Jed "The Life of the Object: Still Life Painting Today." Arts Magazine 52, part 1 (December 1977): 124-28.

Perl, Jed. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. Arts MagazinE : ~ part 2 (May 1978): 16.

Perl, Jed. "The Pictures and Passions of Leland Bell." The New Criterion 5, part 2 (April 1987): 57-61.

Perl, Jed. "Successes." The New Criterion 8 (May 1990): 52-57.

Perl, Jed. "Leland Bell, 1922-1991." The New Criterion 10 (November 1991): 79-80.

Preston, Stuart. "A Tour of Variety Fair." The NewYork Times, September 22, 1963.

Preston, Stuart. "Beholder's Eye." The New York Times, April 19, 1964.

Ratcliff, Carter. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. Art International 14 (May 1970): 76.

Raynor, Vivien. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. ArtsMagazine 38 (September 1964): 70.

Raynor, Vivien. "Smooth Canvases at Leland Bell Exhibit," review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. The New York Times, April 1, 1983.

-------------------------"Reconfiguring the New York School," review of exhibition at Center for Figurative Painting, New York. The New Yorker (January 8, 2001): 16-17.

Sawin, Martica "Good Painting -No Label." Arts Magazine 37 (September 1963) 37-41.

Sawin, Martica. "Abstract Roots of Contemporary Representation." Arts Magazine 50 (June 1976): 106-9.

Schuyler, James. "Bell Paints a Picture." Art News 57(September 1958): 42-45.

Smith, Roberta. "Leland Bell, a Figurative Painter, Teacher and Lecturer, Dies at 69." The New York Times, September 20, 1991.

Smith, Roberta. Review of exhibition at Salander·O'Reilly Galleries. The New York Times, October 15, 1993.

Swain, Richard. Review of exhibition at Schoelkopf Gallery. Arts Magazine 40 (May 1966): 65.

Tillim, Sidney. Review of exhibition at Zabriskie Gallery. Arts Magazine 35 (February 1961): 47-49.

Wilkin, Karen. "At the Galleries." Partisan Review 61 (Winter 1994): 132-49.

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions

--------------------Exhibition Center, New York

1955

Hansa Gallery, New York

1957

Poindexter Gallery, New York

1959

Zabriskie Gallery, New York

1961

Zabriskie, Gallery, New York

1964

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1966

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1968

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1970

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1972

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1974

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1976

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1978

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1980

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1983

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1987

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Stoppenbach and Delestre, Ltd., London,England

1990

Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

1993

Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York

2001-2

Changing Rhythms, Works by Leland Bell, 1950s-1991,

-----------a traveling exhibition organized by the List Gallery,

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Selected Group Exhibitions

1963

Five American Realists, Knoedler Gallery, New York Galleries, New York

9 Realist Painters, Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York and Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

Louisa Matthiasdottir and Leland Bell, Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York

1964

Louisa Matthiasdottir and Leland Bell, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

1966

Leland Bell and Louisa Matthiasdottir, Charlotte Crosby Kemper Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute,Kansas City, Missouri

Figurative Paintings by Leland Bell and Lousia Matthiasdottir, Procter Art Gallery, Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, New York

1967

Paintings by Leland Bell and Louisa Matthiasdottir, Austin Arts Center, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

1972

6 Figurative Painters, Charlotte Crosby Kemper Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri Swain School of Art, New Bedford, Massachusetts

1973

Leland Bell, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Temma Bell, A Family of Painters,The Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio

Bell/ Resika / Georges, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York

1976

Leland Bell / Paul Georges, Westminster College Art Gallery, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania

1982

Bell/ Heliker / Resika, Parsons School of Design Exhibition Center, New York

1984

Figure Show, Maier Museum of Art, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg,Virginia

Modern Masters of Classical Realism, University of Wisconsin,Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Recent American Still Life Paintings, Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

Nine Realists Revisited: 7963-7984, Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York 1985

Recent American Portraiture,Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York

Contemporary American Still Life,One Penn Plaza, New York

Survival of the Fittest II, Ingber Gallery, New York Westfield Chapter of Hadassah: 28th Art Show and Sale, Westfield, New Jersey

1987

Stoppenbach and Delestre, Ltd., London, England

1989

Positive 10, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, Pennsylvania

1991

Nell Blaine and Friends, Callen Mcjunkin Gallery, Charleston, West Virginia

1992

New American Figure Painting, Contemporary Realist Gallery, New York

1994

Drawing on Friendship, Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, Virginia The Figure: Selected Gallery Artists, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York

1998

Seeing the Essential: Selected Works by Robert De Niro, Sr., Paul Resika, and Leland Bell, Hackett­Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, California

2000

A Family of Artists. Leland Bell, Louisa Matthiasdottir; Temma Bell, The Hafnarfjordur Institute of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland

The Figure, Another Side of Modernism,Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island,New York

Reconfiguring the New YorkSchool, Center for Figurative Painting, New York, New York

2001

Larger than Life: Ninety American Masterpieces from the Center's Col­lection, Center for Figurative Painting, NYC, New York

Reconfiguring the New York School, Center for Figurative

2003

Jane Street Gallery: Celebrating New York's First Artist Cooperative, Tibor de Nagy Gallery,NYC, New York

2005

Helion and American Art, National Academy Museum, NYC, New York "Lives/Still Lives," Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, NYC, New York

Leland Bell, Louisa Matthiasdottir: Works on Paper, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, NYC, New York

Small Work, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, NYC, New York

2006

Modern and Contemporary Masters, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries,NYC, New York

2007

Portraits,Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, NYC, New York

Flowers, Salander-O'Reilly Galieries, NYC, New York

A Still Lifes from a Shared Life, The Hafnarfjordur Institute of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland.