Trevor Bell (Born 1930)
Red, Black and Intensities
Acrylic on canvas, 1959
Signed, bottom left. Also signed and dated Dec ’59 on the reverse
36 x 48 inches (90 x 120cm)
Trevor Bell was born in Leeds. The award of a scholarship allowed him to attend Leeds College of Art from 1947 to 1952 before moving to Cornwall in 1955. At that time St Ives was the epicentre for British abstract art and the home to Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth and Terry Frost. Bell received support from many of his fellow artists and in particular Nicholson. Nicholson, alongside his dealer Charles Gimpel, encouraged him to show in London and his first solo exhibition was held at Waddington Galleries in 1958. Patrick Heron wrote the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, stating that Bell was ‘the best non-figurative painter under thirty’. In 1959 Bell was awarded the Paris Biennale International Painting Prize, and an Italian Government Scholarship and the following year was offered the Gregory Fellowship in Painting at the University of Leeds whose advisors at the time were Sir Herbert Read and Henry Moore. It was during this period that Bell developed his shaped canvases, setting his work apart from other artists of his generation. Throughout the 1960’s Bell showed work in major exhibitions in the UK and USA and during this time his work was first purchased for the Tate collection. In 1973 he presented his new work at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, having just taken part in a major exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC. Over the course of the next thirty years Bell combined painting with teaching in various locationseventually moving to Florida State University in 1976 to become the Professor for Master Painting where he lived and worked for the next 20 years. In 1985 Bell was included in the London Tate Gallery’s St Ives 1939-64 exhibition and in 1993 he was part of the inaugural show of the Tate St Ives. Moving from Florida in 1996 he established his studios near Penzance, Cornwall and continued to exhibit in London, the USA and St. Ives. Bell had a major solo exhibition at the Tate St.Ives in 2004 and, in 2011, a further 14 works were obtained by the Tate Gallery for their permanent collection. His work is held in many international public and private collections including The Arts Council of England, British Council, British Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.