elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Charles Bell & Willard Ching

Charles Bell (1935 – 1995) was an American Photorealist and Hyperrealist, known primarily for his large scale still lifes.

Bell died in Manhattan, New York of lymphoma on April 1, 1995, at age 60. He had AIDS at the time of his death. His partner of 22 years, interior decorator Willard Ching, had died of an AIDS-related illness three years earlier, in 1992.

According to a Guggeheim Foundation biography, Bell never received any formal training in his art. He claimed inspiration from Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud. He also worked in the San Francisco studio of Donald Timothy Flores, where painted mostly small-scale landscapes and still lifes. He was given the Society of Western Artists Award in 1968. After moving to New York, Bell created his paintings by photographing a subject in still life.

With a subject matter primarily of vintage toys, pinball machines, gumball machines, and dolls and action figures (the latter frequently arranged in classical poses), Bell sought to bring pictorial majesty and wonder to the mundane. Bell's work, created in his New York loft studio on West Broadway, is noted not only for the glass-like surface of his works, done largely in oil, but also for their significant scale.

Bell was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he graduated from Will Rogers High School in 1953. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1957, then served for two years in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant. Bell lived in the San Francisco Bay Area after leaving the navy, and began his artistic activity in San Francisco. He moved to New York City in 1967 and set up his own studio. Bell worked as an accountant and served as comptroller of the International Nickel Corporation until 1980. Thereafter, he was a full-time artist. He had exhibited his works as early as 1969 at the gallery owned by Louis K. Meisel.

Charles Bell was an American Photorealist and Hyperrealist artist. Bell died of AIDS-related lymphoma in 1995. His partner of 22 years, interior designer Willard Ching, had died of AIDS three years earlier, in 1992. "[The pinball series is] the artist's greatest achievement -- visually, technically and technologically." --Henry Geldzaler. Bell's work, created in his NY loft studio on W. Broadway, is noted for the glass-like surface, done largely in oil, and for their significant scale.

©Charles Bell (1935-1995), Courtesy of Louis K. Meisel Gallery. Sugar Daddy, Gumball X, 1975 (©7)

Charles Bell AIDS Quilt

Willard Ching AIDS Quilt

After Bell's death, Louis K. Meisel of the Louis K. Meisel Gallery became the owner of all intellectual property rights to the body of art created by Charles Bell.

Bell's works are housed in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, among others.

According to art critic and historian, Henry Geldzaler, Bell's best works were in the pinball series. The New York Times quoted Geldzaler as saying, "...the artist's greatest achievement -- visually, technically and technologically."

Willard Ching, a noted interior designer of commercial buildings and a leader in professional societies in his industry, died on January 14, 1992, at New York University Hospital. He was 50 years old and lived in Manhattan.

He died of respiratory failure complicated by AIDS, said Charles Bell, business partner and his companion for 22 years.

Among the interiors Ching designed were New York City's police headquarters, Time magazine's executive offices, Chubb & Son's 85,000-square-foot office in Manhattan and the New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center. Many of his projects were featured in design publications.

Ching had served as the national director of the Institute of Business Design and president of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. He was also a member of the National Examiners Committee of the American Society of Interior Designers, vice president of the Governing Board of Contract Interior Design Standards and vice chairman of the National Legislative Coalition for Interior Design.

He was also on the advisory boards of A&D Business and Design Source magazines, New York University's Real Estate Institute and Interior Designer for Licensing in New York. He served on the American Arbitration Association as a expert on interior design disputes.

He was born in Honolulu and came to New York to study at Pratt Institute, where he graduated in 1964. He then began working for designers in New York and New Jersey, becoming a senior project designer at ISD and director of interior design at Kuhn, Drake & Hessberger.

In 1978 he founded his own firm, Will Ching Planning and Design, based in SoHo, and was its president. He also taught part time at Pratt and the Real Estate Institute.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bell_(painter) & www.nytimes.com/1992/01/16/us/willard-ching-50-a-national-leader-of-interior-designers.html

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: art, days of love

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