Ms. Bell is known throughout the art world for her eponymous Chelsea gallery, which is lauded for its exquisite range of 19th and 20th Century photographs as well as contemporary works by artists such as Louis Faurer, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Lisette Model and Garry Winogrand. Since opening The Deborah Bell Gallery in 2000, Ms. Bell has represented the likes of Dag Alveng, Per Berntsen, The Estate of Esther Bubley, John Cohen, George W. Gardner, Susan Paulsen and Marcia Resnick. The Deborah Bell Gallery, located at 511 West 25th Street, will close later this month after its last show, Memories of the Future: Ana Barrado/Rockets, closes on June 25, 2011.
Ms. Bell will immediately begin the next chapter in her already distinguished career at Christie’s in July 2011.
Born in St. Paul Minnesota, Ms. Bell became passionate about photography as a teenager, when she also volunteered at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center as a tour guide. It was there that she became exposed to avant-garde artists such as Twyla Tharp and Merce Cunningham and the work of filmmaker Michael Snow. She went on to earn a B.F.A. in photography from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 1976, before embarking to New York City to become a freelance photographer. In her first few years in Manhattan, Ms. Bell moonlighted as a photo assistant at Helga Studio making prints and achieved a M.A. in Art History from Hunter College.
Ms. Bell professional career as a dealer began with a position working at the Sander Gallery in 1983, working with vintage prints by German and Czech photographers, including August Sander. She then moved to the Marlborough Gallery, where she represented Irving Penn and Bill Brandt from 1985 to 1986. After working at the Marlborough Gallery, Ms. Bell took a position at the New York office of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, where she worked under Curator of Photographs, Richard Pare, and founding director, Phyllis Lambert, until becoming a private dealer in the fall of 1988. Additionally, Ms. Bell was a professor of History of Photography at the School of Visual Arts for several years.