Leonard (Len) Bell has taught art history at the University of Auckland since 1973. He has held research fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C., and the Yale Center for British Art, and was the 2005 Daphne Mayo Visiting Professor in the School of Art History, Film and Media Studies at the University of Queensland. He is on the International Advisory Board of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art and on the editorial advisory committees of the New Zealand visual arts periodicals Reading Room and BackStory. He is the author of several major art and art history books, including Colonial Constructs: European Images of Maori 1840-1914 (AUP, 1992), Marti Friedlander (AUP, 2009) and most recently, Strangers Arrive: Emigres and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980 (AUP, 2017). All three books were finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards. He has also written catalogue essays and chapters in books on the portraiture of artists Gottfried Lindauer and C. F. Goldie and the photographer Frank Hofmann.
'Marti Friedlander's penetrating portraits grow more poignantly precious every year. I find myself gazing into the faces and interior and exterior topographies as if looking for clues not just to the past, but to the present.' - Kapka Kassabova. 'It was so special to have met Marti and to see her vast collection of artist portraits. She was a such an important picture-making force! She has left big shoes to fill.' - Edith Amituanai. 'Being photographed by Marti felt comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Comfortable because you shared a sense of purpose. Uncomfortable because what she wanted was to get inside you to where the work came from. Marti's portraits of artists were central to her life's work. She "knew" artists - they did what she did: made art. Here are people - some well known, others less familiar - who were integral to the imaginative life of Aotearoa during her time with us.' - Jenny Bornholdt