B. 1878 - 1966
George Bell was a foundational figure in Australian modernism. He began his artistic career studying at the National Gallery school under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin. In 1903 he went to Europe, studying in both Paris and London, becoming a foundation member of the Modern Society of Portrait Painters.
Back in Australia, he turned from traditional painting to Post-Impressionism, opening the Bell-Shore school in 1932. Here, he inspired two generations of artists to pursue modernism, becoming a public spokesperson for art that “animate surfaces without destroying them.” His students included Constance Stokes, Eric Thake and Fred Williams.
For Bell, art had to be grounded in technique; it was best when it looked beyond shifting light and tone to form. A violinist, critic, official war artist, teacher and artist, Bell’s legacy is far-reaching. He represented across public collections, an indelible figure in Australian art history.