(b nr. Brakpan, Johannesburg, 21 Nov. 1910; d nr. Newark-on-Trent, 9 Aug. 1943). British painter and art critic, born in South Africa. He moved to England in 1931 and became a pupil of Duncan Grant. In the early 1930s he painted abstracts, but from 1934 to 1937 he abandoned painting for journalism, writing art criticism in a socialist vein. When he returned to painting it was in the soberly naturalistic style associated with the Euston Road School. His work included portraits, landscapes, interiors, and still lifes. He was killed on an RAF training fight in the Second World War. In 1947 Kenneth Clark wrote of Bell: ‘his critical intelligence was extremely acute…I think he would have become a very good painter. There is an air of largeness and essential truth in his best work which only needs filling out and enriching in order to become great.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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