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Born to wealthy parents in Melbourne on 1 December 1878, George Henry Frederich Bell studied at the National Gallery School from 1896 till 1901. In 1902 he was appointed temporary drawing master. Leaving Melbourne in 1904 he lived in Paris and later London, witnessing but not participating in the modern movement. Bell returned to Melbourne in 1920 and soon after began teaching privately. The Bell-Shore School and the Contemporary Art Group were founded in 1932.
In 1934-35 Bell studied in London at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, with lain MacNab. He returned to Melbourne in 1936 where he continued to teach and support the contemporary movement. He etched a number of portraits just prior to the First World War. In about 1920 he produced a series of powerful linocuts mainly based on his experiences as an orchestral musician. From the late 1940s he printed many small greeting cards, experimenting with wood, lino perspex and celluloid blocks.
© Roger Butler, 1981.
Published in Melbourne Woodcuts & Linocuts of the 1920s & 1930s, exhibition catalogue, Ballarat: Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, 1981.