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Item Name: Painting
Title: Elevators, Grand Coulee
Maker: Jean Bell
Year: 1951
Country: Canadian
Materials: watercolour on paper
Measurements: overall: 35.9 cm x 47.7 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.5

Extended Label Info: When Jean Bell painted this dynamic watercolour, she documented the hub of agricultural life in the small settler towns on the Prairies depicted through powerlines, the railway and wooden grain elevators. During the mid-twentieth century, rural electrification was new to Saskatchewan, agriculture was dominated by the family farm, and each town was linked by the railway serving local grain businesses. Since those days, farming has consolidated into larger business structures served by immense concrete grain handling facilities known as inland terminals and as such, Bell’s work has become an historical document. Donated to the Regina Public Library in 1951 by the Regina Council of Women (formally Local Council of Women), this painting was first exhibited as part of “Amateurs at the Easel” at Dunlop Art Gallery in 1967. Amateur, in this case is an historical term, referring to Bell’s lower professional profile at the time, rather than her skill or craftsmanship. Her deft brushstroke and observant use of colour capture the sense light and the feeling of the breeze in the late afternoon. Isobel Jean Bell (nee Donald) (1882 – 1970) was born in Ontario and moved to Regina in 1924 with her family and husband Edward Wallace Guy (E.W.G.) Bell, a bank manager. She was active in Regina’s early arts culture as a member of the Local Council of Women (now Regina Council of Women) chairing the arts and letters committee (1940 to 1943) and as a founding member of the Regina Federation of Artists guild, exhibiting her printmaking and painting work regularly with both the Women’s Art Association and the Regina Arts & Crafts Society. This early history was explored in a group exhibition held at the Mendel Art Gallery (now Remai Modern), entitled “Mashel Teitelbaum and Saskatchewan Art in the 1940s” (1991). Bell’s son Charles was also a watercolour painter, and is remembered for his work as cartoonist and editor with the Regina Leader Post.