Larry Bell b. 1939

One of the foremost artists to emerge from the California art scene of the fifties and sixties, Larry Bell is known for his glass cube sculptures and vapor “drawings” that explore the phenomena of light and perception. Bell studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) under Robert Irwin from 1957 to 1959, and quickly joined the roster of artists at the legendary Ferus Gallery in the early 1960s.

Initially interested in Abstract Expressionism, Bell became fascinated with the reflection and refraction of light while working part-time at a commercial framing shop as a student. He quickly discarded his painting materials for glass, and took up technological materials most commonly used in the aerospace industry. His early glass cubes were fabricated by an outside glass manufacturer, but eventually Bell took things into his own hands. With the 1956 textbook Vacuum Deposition of Thin Films as a guide, he commissioned the creation of his own vacuum chamber and began coating sheets of glass with laminates and metallic films. In the late 1970s, Bell added experiments on paper and canvas to his repertoire, employing similar techniques as with his glass cubes to create his ongoing Vapor Drawings series. These works capture deposits of metallic films and silicon substances on paper, resulting in evocative, sculptural abstractions.

Bell moved to his current workspace in Taos, New Mexico, in 1973, setting up his studio in a large neglected building that was once the only commercial laundry in the state. Today he works between Taos and Venice, California. His works are held in museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery.

Auction Results Larry Bell