It is with great sadness that we farewell Dr Robert Bell AM.

Robert was a towering figure in the craft and design sector in Australia and overseas, through his own work, his curatorial practice and his advocacy for the sector nationally and internationally over many years. His legacy is enormous particularly through his major exhibitions and publications.

He was a wise and gentle mentor to many, and I was privileged to be one. Robert introduced me to the Victoria Tapestry Workshop in 1980, and now I have the honour of leading it. Robert will be deeply missed and we offer our condolences to his wife Dr Eugenie Keefer Bell and thank her for this obituary.

VALE Robert.

- Antonia Syme, Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop

Dr Robert Stewart Bell AM
29 December 1946, Perth WA – 28 July 2018, Canberra ACT

Loving and cherished husband of Eugenie Keefer Bell for over 32 years.

Beloved by his family as eldest son of John (dec) and Vonda (dec), brother of Anthony and Beverley, brother-in-law of Gabrielle and Lance in Australia, and Diane, Richard and Ronald in California, uncle of goddaughter Veronica and nephew James.

Robert completed a 50 year career in the arts, serving with insight and passion as Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the National Gallery of Australia, following long terms as Curator of Crafts and Design at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Senior Designer at the W.A. Museum. As an artist working in ceramics and textiles, his work was exhibited in Australia and internationally, and is held in public and private collections.

He was awarded the 2001 Australian Centenary Medal, the 2005 Australia Council Emeritus Award and in 2010 was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to contemporary craft and design.

An unfailingly generous and gracious man, Robert was loved and admired by his family, friends, colleagues and the many artists whose work he encouraged and supported.

A private cremation service was held.

- Eugenie Keefer Bell

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