Charles S. Bell (American, 1935–1995) is a Photorealist painter from Tulsa, OK. He received is BBA from the University of Oklahoma Norman in 1957. After graduating, he served in the Navy for two years and then moved to New York to work as an accountant at International Nickel.
Bell is known for creating vibrant still lifes that are 10 times their actual size. He painted everyday consumer items like pinball machines, marbles, gumball machines, and vintage toys. Bell started having solo shows at Meisel Gallery and Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York in 1972. He has also participated in group exhibits at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, The Miyagi Museum of Art, and Plus One Gallery, among others.
While many other artists in the 1970s were experimenting with Minimalism and Conceptual Art, Bell was a member of a small group of artists who painted a reflection of iconography and Capitalism in America during this period. By using consumer objects, Bell shared similar interests with the Pop Art artists of the 1960s, but, like other Photorealists, he placed them in a sphere of criticism rather than praise. In the 1986 painting The Judgement of Paris, Bell recreates the Greek myth using Barbie dolls, a Ken figure, and a G.I. Joe figure, as well as other toys. This work is close in size to Peter Paul Rubens’s interpretation of The Judgement of Paris, which is almost 13 feet long. The artist died in 1995. Bell’s estate is represented by Louis K. Meisel Gallery.