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Bell, Alistair M. (21 October 1913 - 12 October 1997)

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Alistair Macready Bell

Alistair Macready Bell, graphic artist (b at Darlington, Eng 21 Oct 1913; d at Vancouver, BC 12 Oct 1997). Recognized as one of Canada's finest print-making artists of the 20th century, Bell emigrated to Vancouver in 1929 and enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art in 1935, where he had access to an artist's press.

Bell worked as a draftsman in a structural steel plant until 1967, when he turned his attention to being a full-time artist. He soon established himself for his talent in the graphic media including drypoint, etching, lithography, wood engraving and woodcutting. By his own admission, Bell was always drawn to subject matter in which the linear, rhythmic quality of shape predominated. His depictions of boats, birds and animals are charged, expressionist renderings at once recognizable as quintessential "Bell" interpretations.

The artist travelled to the world's famous zoos sketching the exotic birds and animals that became the subjects for many of the more than 250 prints he created over a 60-year period. He exhibited in Europe, Latin America, Canada and the US, and his works are in the Victoria and Albert Museum in England, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery in Ottawa. Major exhibitions of his work were organized by the Burnaby Art Gallery in 1971 and at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1981. His entire print oeuvre is in the permanent collection of the latter institution.