Trevor Bell (1930 – 2017)

Way Out Blue (1961)


Acrylic on paper

35 x 43 cm

Signed and dated lower right.

Bell’s rosy-hued abstract composition is perhaps evoking an interior with window and curtains. The deep azure blue of the picture’s title appears at the top right of the composition, curving away from the rest of the image. A sunny golden yellow drips in through the window panes, imbuing the scene with a hot, heady romanticism. Bell’s idiosyncratic pictorial language allows us to experience the scene’s hazy summer heat via the forms of sun, window, and wall.

Bell was born in Leeds in 1930 and attended Leeds College of Art from 1947 to 1952 in a scholarship. The artist Terry Frost encouraged him to move to Cornwall, where he soon became a leading figure in the younger generation of the St Ives school. His first solo exhibition came in 1958, and the year after he was awarded the Paris Biennale International Painting Prize. The Tate began collecting his work in the 1960s, and Bell spent more time working and teaching in America.

The Tate’s 1985 St Ives exhibition featured Bell’s work, and he was also included in the Tate St Ives’ inaugural show. He returned from America in 1996 and settled down in isolated barn- and farmhouse-conversion studios near Penzance in Cornwall. He exhibited across England and America for the rest of his life, notably with his major solo exhibition at the Tate St Ives in 2004. Much of his work considers form and landscape via a dramatic use of colour and often on unusually-shaped (and sometimes multi-part) canvases.

Condition: very good.

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