The following biographical information has been provided by Raphael Hassell, grandson of the artist.
Born at Lachine, Quebec, he started painting at the age of 17 and studied at the Ontario College of Art under J.W. Beatty, J.E.H. MacDonald and F.H. Johnston. He also studied in England for a short time under Hayward Veal at the Heatherleys School.
He was employed by Brigden's Limited in graphic media until June, 1955, when he turned to full-time painting. He also worked for other firms including art editing for MacLean's Magazine. Hassell painted a variety of subjects including figures, portraits and landscapes. His work was noted by the Port Credit Weekly as follows, "Many of the paintings. . . are the result of a trip to Ireland this spring. . . . In Ireland. . . he found the farms, the bogs and the cozy, intimate seaports a source of inspiration. . . . Mr. Hassell whose choice of subject is wide, obviously delights in water, sea coasts, shorelines, harbours and coves. . . . In Newfoundland, the country reminds him in many ways of Ireland. He painted the flakes, the wooden shelf-like platforms which the fishermen build to dry the fish in the sun."
He exhibited 16 of his paintings at the Memorial University Art Gallery in St. John's, Newfoundland, by invitation, in the spring of 1965. He held solo shows at the Eaton's Fine Art Galleries, Toronto (Oct-Nov 1965) and in Winnipeg (Oct-Nov 1965). His winter landscapes have been reproduced for Christmas Cards.
Hassell was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists and exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy.
He died in 1980 at the age of 70 and was survived by his wife Valerie, and two children, Dr. Christopher Hassell, Laurel Reigo, and six grandchildren.
Colin S. Macdonald, Dictionary of Canadian Artists