At the Round House


Cecil Bell (1906-1970), At the Round House, soft-ground etching and aquatint, c. 1935, signed in pencil lower right and titled lower left (also numbered 45), printed on a cream wove paper, the full sheet, in excellent condition, 5 3/4 x 7 5/8, the sheet 8 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

A fine impression of this evocative image.

Cecil Bell, born in Seattle in 1906, started his artistic career as a cartoonist. He moved to New York and enrolled in the Art Student’s League in 1930, where he had John Sloan as a teacher.  “I want principally to get down life as I see it and if it turns out to be Art, so much the better,” he told an interviewer in 1939, in the spirit of his Ash Can School mentor. Bell’s Depression-era vignettes were informed by a creative sensibility that acknowledged New York City as its life-giving force.

A roundhouse is a building used for servicing trains; it features a turntable. In this depiction we can observe a worker at the right, possibly re-refueling the engine; another works near the center foreground.