Charles Bell was a painter of what was known as the Photorealist school of New York. He grew up in the capital of Oklahoma, a state very hard hit by the crisis of the 1930s due to desertification, where poverty lingered on for decades. In 1957 he gained his bachelor’s degree in business administration and went to work for the International Nickel Corporation in New York. The first time the artist approached the Meisel Gallery (Louis K. Meisel Gallery since 1973), which later represented him, he offered several small traditional, realistic still lifes. Dividing his time between painting and his career as an accountant, shortly afterwards Bell began experimenting with new themes and larger canvases. He became a pioneer in the techniques and aesthetic of the Photorealist movement, an artistic circle established in the late 1960s and early 1970s that sought to express reality with great precision.
Although he drew inspiration from Abstract Expressionism in his use of huge canvases to visually engage the spectator, Bell drew his subject matter from popular material culture. The neutral, objective and cold style of Photorealism entailed projecting the photographs taken by the artist onto the canvas and painting the image with great technical skill to achieve an illusionistic work.