Kent Bellows (1949–2005) has been recognized as one of America’s great masters of Realism since first exhibiting in New York in 1985. The Nebraska-born artist began his career as a free-lance science fiction illustrator in the late 1970s for publications such as Omni and Rolling Stone. He moved into commissioned portraiture and then figurative realism by the early 1980s, reaching national acclaim when he was discovered by the New York art market through Tatistcheff Gallery and then later Forum Gallery in New York.

Bellows’ drawings and paintings are known for their meticulous rendering as well as a psychological complexity that rivets the viewer. His drawings and paintings have been included in exhibitions at the Huntsville Museum of Art, Florida International University, the National Academy of Design, Sheldon Museum of Art, the Arkansas Arts Center, the University of Missouri, and art galleries from New York to California. His work is owned by private collectors and museums, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Britain Museum of American Art, Toledo Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, and Joslyn Art Museum.

To purchase Kent Bellows' prints, click here. Proceeds support Joslyn's Kent Bellows Mentoring Program.

Joslyn Art Museum Exhibition


In 2010, Joslyn Art Museum presented a Kent Bellows retrospective titled Beyond Realism: The Works of Kent Bellows 1970-2005 (September 25, 2010–January 16, 2011).

Below is an overview by exhibition guest curator Molly S. Hutton, Ph.D.

When Omaha artist Kent Bellows passed away prematurely in 2005, he was at the height of his technical skills, producing delicately rendered pencil, graphite, and charcoal drawings and meticulously detailed paintings, most often of friends and family, that masterfully capture the “reality” of the observed world. Bellows’ work had earned him prestigious New York gallery representation, inclusion in museum and private collections across the country, and a permanent place within the tradition of realist endeavor. Nevertheless, the retrospective Beyond Realism: The Works of Kent Bellows 1970-2005 at Joslyn Art Museum was the first full-scale presentation anywhere of Bellows’ art. The exhibition featured over 70 paintings, drawings, and prints — painstakingly crafted portraits and hyper-realistic paintings — all with visual surprises and psychological undercurrents that belie their status as mere imitations of actual things. Beyond Realism shed light on a complicated and provocative artist whose sensitive intellect and creative facility worked to produce images of great beauty, emotional depth, and humanity.

To purchase the exhibition catalogue, click here.