In Nude, George Bell provocatively juxtaposed a luminous naked body with sombre outdoor clothing. The nude rests comfortably on a rather formal sofa, nestling into, but not concealed by, her warm coat. A little cat perches at her feet at the end of the sofa, a picture of feline composure. Bell’s meticulous rendering of the textures of fabrics and fur heightens the sensuality of contrasting ﬂesh tones. Bell was also concerned with classical geometric structure, with the relationship between forms.
Bell’s Nude is similar to Philip Wilson Steer’s Seated Nude: The black hat c.1900 (cat. 129) in that it shows the nude rather shockingly in a drawing room rather than in the more traditional boudoir. Stylistically, however, Bell’s Nude is painted in a more academic tradition and Steer’s The black hat with freer and more expressive brushstrokes.