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Artist Info – Bell School (of art)
“George Bell’s contribution to art in Melbourne has been more often recognised than described. He taught more than 1000 students between 1923 and 1966. The first student to emerge as a prominent artist was Eric Thake. With Arnold Shaw from 1932-6, then alone until 1939, he had a school in Bourke Street from which came the important painters of the 1940s, Russell Drysdale, Sali Herman and Peter Purves Smith. The “untrained” moderns Albert Tucker, Vic O’Connor and Adrian Lawlor came to him too. The studio was the focus of conscious modernism. In and out went Sam Atyeo, Ian Fairweather, Jock Frater, Isabel Tweddle, Marg Cecil Allen, Moya Dyring and Basil Burdett, even John Reed for a while. Over the tea table they prepared strategies against the conservative forces – Menzies, MacDonald, Meldrum. The stylistic enemy was tonal realism. Bell taught ‘form’, ‘distortion’, ‘expression’, and he stressed that art had to arise from imagination.”

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George Bell,Bell School,Bell school of art