‘Last of the St Ives modernists’ dies

Joseph Clarke

Artist Trevor Bell, who died at age 87 after a brief illness.

Bell, who was known for creating huge paintings, has been described as “the last of the St Ives modernists, Joseph Clarke, of the Anima-Mundi gallery.

Yorkshireman Bell arrived in Cornwall the resort in 1955, when it was the epicentre for British abstract art.

He made his reputation as one of the main members of the local scene, and helped to establish the British art on the international scene.

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Joseph Clarke

Chris Stevens, former head of modern British art at Tate Britain, said Bell was “one of the leading figures” in the third generation of artists who were drawn to St Ives.

The city was home to artists such as Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth and Terry Frost.’Immense impact’

“He had a natural painting ability,” said Mr. Stevens. “Patrick Heron called one of the best non-figurative art in the country.

“He has developed a painting based on his experience of the landscape and the sea, and he was very attentive and without compromise.”

Professor Mike Tooby of Bath School of Art & Design, said Bell’s work in the United States, where he was Professor of Fine arts at Florida State University, has had a “huge impact on a generation of students and colleagues”.

“His major works will continue to excite and move people just as his work in Britain,” he said.

St Ives gallery owner, Joseph Clarke said Bell was “a wonderful and generous man and an incredible artist” who “has remained one of the most ambitious people I have had the challenge and privilege of working with”.

Like many artists, the Campana, left St Ives in 1960 and returned to his roots in Leeds, but returned to Cornwall in 1990.