With a practice spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, Alice Neel (1900–1984) is widely regarded as one of the foremost American figurative painters of the twentieth century. Based in New York, Neel chose her subjects from her family, friends, and a broad variety of locals: writers, poets, artists, students, textile salesmen, psychologists, cabaret singers, and homeless bohemians. Her eccentric selection was thus also a portrayal of, and dialogue with, the city in which she lived. Through her penetrative, forthright, and at times humorous touch, her work subtly engaged with political and social issues, including gender, racial inequality, and labour struggles.Read More
Neel was born in 1900 in Merion Square, Pennsylvania, and died in 1984 in New York. In 1921, she enrolled in the fine art program at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design) and graduated in 1925.
Since 2008, The Estate of Alice Neel has been represented by David Zwirner, where her work was presented in 2009 in a critically acclaimed, two-venue solo exhibition, Alice Neel: Selected Works and Alice Neel: Nudes of the 1930s (on view at Zwirner & Wirth, New York). Other solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York include Alice Neel: Late Portraits & Still Lifes in 2012 and Alice Neel: Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978 in 2015. In 2017, David Zwirner, New York presented Alice Neel, Uptown, a solo exhibition curated by Hilton Als featuring Neel’s portraits that she made during her five decades of living and working in upper Manhattan.
Although she showed sporadically early in her career, from the 1960s onwards her work was exhibited widely in the United States. In 1971, a comprehensive solo exhibition of Neel's paintings was held at her alma mater Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia. In 1974, she had her first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. It was shortly followed by a large-scale presentation of eighty-three paintings in 1975 at the Georgia Museum of Art, The University of Georgia, Athens. In 1978, the Graham Gallery, New York organised the first retrospective dedicated to the artist's works on paper. In 1979, a survey of her paintings was co-hosted by the University of Bridgeport and The Silvermine Guild of Artists in Connecticut.
To celebrate the centenary of the artist's birth, the Philadelphia Museum of Art organised a solo exhibition of Neel’s work, which debuted in 2000 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, before travelling to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, amongst other venues. More recent posthumous solo shows include Alice Neel: Collector of Souls, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2008) and Alice Neel: Family, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2011). In 2010, Alice Neel: Painted Truths, which thematically surveyed over sixty paintings spanning fifty-five years, received wide critical acclaim. It was organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Texas and travelled to the Whitechapel Gallery, London and Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden. In 2013, a major presentation of the artist's watercolours and drawings, Alice Neel: Intimate Relations, was on view at Nordiska Akvarellmuseet in Skärhamn, Sweden.
In 2016, the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki organised Alice Neel: Painter of Modern Life, a major museum survey of the artist's work featuring approximately seventy paintings. It traveled to the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague and the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles, France, before concluding at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg in 2018.
Work by the artist is represented in permanent collections that include The Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Tate, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Text courtesy David Zwirner.
Members of The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) joined forces for The Art Show at the end of February (27 February–1 March 2020). The 2020 iteration saw more than half of its presentations dedicated to a single artist and 19 exhibitions focused on female artists, in addition to vibrant thematic and group surveys.
The Armory Show opens to the public on 7 March (running to 10 March 2019)—just about a week after the fair relocated a portion of its 194 exhibitors due to structural issues found in Pier 92, forcing its sister fair Volta to cancel its 2019 show so that Armory could occupy its Pier 90 venue. Despite the upheaval, New York 's art week is...
Mousse Magazine: How does Alice Neel in New Jersey and Vermont represent a specific part of Neel's oeuvre? Jeremy Lewison: This exhibition reveals a side of Neel that has not been very visible to date. Many exhibitions have included family portraits, certainly, but this one really gives you a sense of place: where Neel was working and how it...
In 1938 the Pennsylvania-born artist Alice Neel moved from fashionable Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan to Spanish Harlem, where she lived for four years in a small apartment before relocating to nearby Upper West Side for two further decades. The downtown crowd did not consider Harlem an appealing area, but Neel didn't seem to mind at all....
Alice Neel, born in 1900, and raised in white, middle-class Pennsylvania, moved to Harlem in New York at the age of 38. She was still recovering from the tragedy of her first marriage, which had seen her first daughter die of diphtheria as a baby, and her second daughter abducted and taken to Cuba by her estranged husband. The shock of those...
Alice Neel is hard to place, isn't she? The New York-based painter, who died in 1984, lived uptown most of her life, but many of her most famous subjects hailed from downtown coteries. Neel must have been hip to get Andy Warhol to relax his guard for her well-known shirtless portrait of him ( Andy Warhol, 1970): a study in vulnerability, the work...
Jeremy Lewison, adviser to the Estate of Alice Neel, talks with Angela Lampe, curator of Modern Art at Centre Pompidou, on the occasion of the exhibition 'Alice Neel in New Jersey and Vermont' (26 October—15 December 2018).
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