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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

George Bell, 1951

Louis Kahan

pen and ink on paper (sheet: 37.8 cm x 27.5 cm)

George Bell studied in Melbourne and Paris, and was elected a member of the Modern Society of Portrait Painters, London, in 1908. After spending 17 years abroad, including a period as an official war artist, he returned to Australia in 1920 and began teaching privately in 1922. In 1932 he founded the Bell-Shore school, which became the centre of the modern movement in Melbourne.

In his Foreward to Classical Modernism, James Mollison wrote, 'Bell occupies a unique position in the development of Australian art. After spending a significant portion of his career working in a traditional manner, he was converted to modern art and spent the remainder of his life instilling its principles into two generations of Australian painters.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1998
© Louis Kahan/Copyright Agency, 2020

Accession number: 1998.23

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Louis Kahan (age 46 in 1951)

George Bell OBE (age 73 in 1951)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan
Self portrait, 1949 Louis Kahan

A guy from Paris

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2018

Sarah Engledow on a foundational gallery figure who was quick on the draw.

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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.