Leland Bell, 1986

Published by Hudson Hills Press

Leland Bell is one of America’s finest contemporary painters, an artist passionately committed to addressing and exploring the challenges of twentieth-century representational painting. He is also Bell the teacher, the polemicist, the sometimes outspoken critic of the establishment, and the champion of neglected French painters.

A highly personal and engaging portrait, Leland Bell traces the development of the artist’s work, including the influences of other artists upon it. In extensive quotations throughout the text, Bell talks about his particular notion of tradition in art – the qualities that link artists as diverse as Giotto, Brueghel, Chardin and Gris, pointing to their similarities far more than their differences. The qualities he admires in the work of these masters illuminate his aspirations for his own art, and indicate an awareness of and insights into art history on the part of a dedicated artist.

Bell’s working methods are also discussed, and author Nicholas Fox Weber elucidates the many stages through which each of the paintings evolves. The book reproduces the finest of these robust, vigorous works, 48 of them in full color.

Included are early abstractions, portraits and self-portraits, still lifes, and figure studies. Simple and well-defined themes, they nevertheless evoke deep engagement on the part of the viewer, assisted by the author’s detailed analysis of their original style and forceful imagery. These paintings demonstrate too the integrity and disregard of fashion that Leland Bell’s art has come to represent.