About the Artist
Cecil Crosley Bell was an American painter and printmaker and member of the Ashcan School. He had a great talent for portraying his subjects with empathy, appreciation and humor.
Early Life and Education
Cecil Bell was born in Seattle in 1906. In 1928 he studied printmaking at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1930, Bell moved to New York and enrolled in classes at the Art Students League. His teachers included John Sloan, one of the founders of the Ashcan School, master etchers Harry Wickey and John Locke, and Will Barnet, who was the official printmaker at the League.
Bell married Agatha Marie Lewis in 1929. The couple eventually moved from New York to Thompkinsville, Staten Island. Some of the best work that Bell did was of the commuters on the Staten Island Ferry. The Whitney Museum bought Ice Skaters, Cental Park in 1936, which enhanced Bell’s career and led to major exhibitions.
Although most of his work depicts public spaces, his bold colors and compositions create a feeling of intimacy among the artist, subject and viewer.
While earning a good portion of his living as a free-lance illustrator, Bell exhibited at the Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy, and the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
Bell moved to Rutland, Vermont where he painted rural scenes. He died in Rutland in 1970.
Bell’s work can be found at the National Gallery, The Whitney, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Staten Island Museum and other fine galleries. A biography titled Cecil C. Bell by Phyllis Barton was published in 1976 and contains biographical material and many reproductions of the paintings and etchings that Bell did of New York and Vermont.
St. Paul’s Ave
Jerome Myers Portrait of Cecil Bell 1939
Cecil Bell Ice Skaters, Central Park 1934
Cecil Bell Lady In Orange
Cecil Bell St Paul’s Avenue c1969