Alice Neel’s Women

An installation view of a gallery space shows several paintings hanging on a white wall. On another wall, it says in big blue letters: "Alice Neel's Women".
Oct 28, 2005, to Jan 15, 2006

A self-proclaimed “collector of souls,” Alice Neel (1900-84) is known for her bold, candid portraits. Alice Neel’s Women examines these portraits as a central facet of Neel’s oeuvre that chronicles the evolution of American social mores as well as Neel’s personal and artistic growth.

The exhibition Alice Neel’s Women not only presents a selection of the artist’s intriguing circle of female friends and family, but it also serves as a chronicle of Neel’s own conflicts and struggles and as a diary of her personal and artistic growth.

Neel often said that all art is history. In her history and in her art, men played a major role. Alice Neel loved the company of men, as friends, colleagues, neighbors, and lovers, and she enjoyed painting them. But Neel’s paintings of women provide insight into the artist herself.

Alice Neel (1900-84) was a hero to a generation of women artists who, in the 1960s and 1970s, were joining forces with feminist art historians and critics to assert their place in the contemporary art world and in the history of art. As one of the great American portrait painters of the twentieth century, Neel exemplified to them the committed artist who had created a distinguished body of work despite personal, economic, and cultural obstacles.

Neel painted primarily from life because, as she recognized, “I get something from the other person.” She is known for her ability to capture the essence of an individual both physically and psychologically. Gesture, posture, assured draftsmanship, and an eye for color are at the heart of her interpretive skills.

An installation view of a gallery space shows several paintings hanging on a white wall. The paintings are colorful and show different women sitting in a chair. The woman portrayed on the left has a light skin tone and wears a blue coat and a blue beret, the woman in the painting in the center of the photograph has a medium-dark skin tone and wears a red dress, and the woman on the right painting has a light skin tone and pigtails.

Installation view of Alice Neel's Women