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George Bell (painter)

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Occupation  Painter
Role  Painter
Name  George Bell
George Bell (painter)
Full Name  George Frederick Henry Bell
Born  1 December 1878Kew, Victoria
Died  October 23, 1966, Toorak, Melbourne, Australia
Artwork  Toinette, Sitting room, Mulberry Hill, Lulworth Cove

George Frederick Henry Bell (1 December 1878 – 23 October 1966) was an Australian painter.



He was born in Kew, Victoria, the son of George Bell, a public servant, and educated at Kew High School. He studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1895 to 1903. and continued his studies in Paris and London in the early 1900s.

During World War I he worked first as a teacher and then in a munitions factory. From October 1918 to the end of 1919 he was an official war artist to the 4th Division of the Australian Imperial Force.

Bell's major war painting concerning the Battle of Hamel: Dawn at Hamel 4 July 1918, was completed in Australia in 1921 and now hangs in the Australian War Memorial.

The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery collection includes his work entitled The Conversation. One of his early formal paintings, The Conversation, was painted while he was overseas and was first exhibited at the Modern Society of Portrait Painters in 1911.

In 1932 he and Arnold Shore opened an art school at 443 Bourke Street, Melbourne, which became the centre of modern art in Melbourne. Their students over the years included Russell Drysdale, Sali Herman and Bill Salmon. Later in 1932 he formed the Contemporary Group of Melbourne, then in 1934 took a lengthy study trip to England, where he became interested in the work of Iain MacNab. In 1937 Attorney General Robert Menzies attempted to establish the Australian Academy of Art, an Australian equivalent to the Royal Academy. Bell was the leading opponent of the plan and a spokesman for 'modern art', and pursued a prolonged public argument with Menzies, forming the Contemporary Art Society of which he became founding president. Artists associated with Bell and the Contemporary Art Society included Constance Stokes and Sali Herman.

He was appointed O.B.E. in 1966. He died at his home at Toorak the same year, survived by his wife and daughter.


  • Williams, Fred. (1979). "Bell, George Frederick Henry (1878–1966)," Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 7. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.
  • References

    George Bell (painter) Wikipedia

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