The painter Leland Bell—who died on September 18, after a long battle with leukemia —was vibrant, brilliant, opinionated, and absolutely sure of himself. The musical last name was just right for Lee, and not only because he was a serious amateur jazz drummer. If he called you on the phone he would identify himself very fast—“This is Lee Bell” —and coming over the receiver in his gravelly voice it was a sonorous bang-bang, exciting and also, as bells can be, jarring. When Lee talked about the artists he loved (and how he loved to talk) it was like bells ringing, ringing in praise of Corot, Derain, Mondrian, Cranach, Rouault, Rembrandt, Arp, Chardin, Dufy, and many, many more. Lee’s best paintings have that clattering, jarring, exciting bell-like quality, too. He liked to fill a painting with just a few ringing planes of color. In the big, powerful...

 
Popular Right Now