Leland Bell was a self-taught painter whose passion for the discipline of painting has inspired and influenced many. He was also a fierce advocate for artists that he admired. In the early years of his career these included Karl Knaths, Jean Arp, and Piet Mondrian; in the mid-1940s his allegiance to abstract painting receded after he formed a friendship with Jean Hélion, and Bell subsequently became a champion of Hélion, Fernand Léger, Balthus, Alberto Giacometti, and André Derain.Bell was also a jazz aficionado and drummer.
In 1944 he married the painter Louisa Matthíasdóttir (1917–2000), whose figurative style influenced his work.In contrast to Matthíasdóttir, who worked quickly, Bell labored over his paintings, sometimes for years. The couple had a daughter, Temma, in 1945. The family divided their time between New York and Matthíasdóttir's native Iceland.
Bell was active as a painter, teacher, and lecturer. In 1987, he had a retrospective exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. He was diagnosed with leukemia in the 1980s, and died September 18, 1991.Wikipedia
"My art comes from the Three Fires (or Midewiwin) tradition. That is what I believe in. I came to this belief through a dream I had about peace. It was a deeply spiritual experience. After consulting with Elders I began trying to build my sense of spirituality. Then I needed to have an Indian name. I consulted with some elders and asked them to help me find my name. I was given the name Bebaminojmat which, loosely translated, means, 'when you go around you talk about good things'. Then I fasted to prepare my body and my mind to talk to the Creator. This is where my art comes from.
In the same manner that the first wave of Woodlands artists contributed to his life, Leland Bell has also been an art instructor and has conducted numerous workshops and presentations across the continent.
Leland Bells's work is represented in many prominent art collections in North America and Europe and is available for sale at the Wahsa Gallery in Winnipeg. "(native-art-in-canada.com)