Kent Bellows (1949 – 2005) – Class of 1967

Kent Bellows was born in Blair, Nebraska in 1949. He was an accomplished artist from an early age, developing a prolific career that spanned genres and mediums. Bellows began his career in the 1970s creating fantasy and science-fiction art. In the 80s, Bellows transitioned to his more well-known hyper-realistic style; his meticulously rendered drawings and paintings are often mistaken for photographs. Bellows earned money primarily through commissioned portraiture in addition to his more personal work. He quickly broke through to the national stage in 1985 when he signed with the Tatistcheff Gallery, and later the Forum Gallery, in New York City. He captivated both audiences and critics with his ability to not only capture the physical likeness of his subjects, but also their inner thoughts and personalities.

At the time of his death in 2005, at the age of fifty-six, Kent Bellows had achieved national recognition for his intense and emotionally-gripping artwork. His work can be found in private collections and in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Toledo Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln and Joslyn Art Museum. A catalog of his work has been published and an artist mentoring program established in his honor.

Beyond Realism: Works by Kent Bellows exhibition at the Joslyn Art Museum in 2010. The show drew nearly 38,000 visitors to the museum, a landmark achievement for a local Omaha artist.