Alice Neel: Painted Truths

Alice Neel: Painted Truths

by Barry Walker, Jeremy Lewison, Robert Storr, Tamar Garb
     
 

Widely regarded as one of the most important American painters of the 20th century, Alice Neel is internationally recognized for her contributions to Abstract Expressionism, especially her perceptive portraiture. Neel (1900–1984) was a portrait painter at a time when this was traditionally the role of a male artist. After ascending to prominence in the 1960s

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Overview

Widely regarded as one of the most important American painters of the 20th century, Alice Neel is internationally recognized for her contributions to Abstract Expressionism, especially her perceptive portraiture. Neel (1900–1984) was a portrait painter at a time when this was traditionally the role of a male artist. After ascending to prominence in the 1960s as the feminist movement gained momentum, she has remained an iconic figure in the history of American painting.

A self-proclaimed “collector of souls,” Neel often painted friends and family, as well as the celebrated artists and writers of her day, such as Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara, and Meyer Shapiro, delving into personalities and idiosyncrasies with a rare frankness. Alice Neel: Painted Truths brings together paintings that demonstrate Neel’s range and ability, along with insightful commentary from four leading art historians. Although the book focuses on her portraits, it also covers the artist’s early social realist paintings and cityscapes, tracing the evolution of Neel’s style and examining themes that she revisited throughout her career.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

“One of the most interesting aspects of this volume is the inclusion of a series of reflections on voices, testifying to the continued relevance of Neel’s work, renders an already outstanding collection truly superb.” — S.L. Hoglund, Choice

 

— S.L. Hoglund

Woman's Art Journal

"A penetrating look at the portraits. . . . Lavishly illustrated. . . . Will be essential reading for anyone interested in her career. . . . There is plenty here to engage both the eye and the brain. While the paintings still might be unsettling, the materials presented here will go along way to helping us understand them."—Pamela Simpson, Woman''s Art Journal

— Pamela Simpson

Choice - S.L. Hoglund

“One of the most interesting aspects of this volume is the inclusion of a series of reflections on voices, testifying to the continued relevance of Neel’s work, renders an already outstanding collection truly superb.” — S.L. Hoglund, Choice

 

Woman's Art Journal - Pamela Simpson

"A penetrating look at the portraits. . . . Lavishly illustrated. . . . Will be essential reading for anyone interested in her career. . . . There is plenty here to engage both the eye and the brain. While the paintings still might be unsettling, the materials presented here will go along way to helping us understand them."—Pamela Simpson, Woman's Art Journal
Library Journal
Alice Neel (1900–84) focused on portraiture for most of her life, a period when abstraction dominated the art world. She was one of the few mid-20th-century artists to paint the human figure and practically the only woman to specialize in portraiture, and although recognition came late in her life, it established her as an important artist. Accompanying an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, that will also travel to two international venues and that includes both Neel's portraits and her New York cityscapes, this volume covers nearly seven decades of Neel's life and work, including her social and artistic activism and her single motherhood. Essays by exhibition curator Walker and three other scholars and reflections on Neel by artists Frank Auerbach, Marlene Dumas, and Chris Ofili add to the book's significance. Neel's paintings are represented by 120 color illustrations, in concert with thematic texts and entries. With a bibliography, a chronology, and a checklist of the exhibition, the only comparable work is the catalog, now out of print, for Neel's 2000 retrospective exhibition. VERDICT An essential purchase for libraries focusing on contemporary art and/or women's studies.—Martha Smith, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300163322
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/20/2010
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
572,986
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 11.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Barry Walker is the curator of modern and contemporary art and prints and drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. As the director of Jeremy Lewison Ltd., Jeremy Lewison is a curator and advisor to the Estate of Alice Neel. Robert Storr is an artist, curator, and critic, as well as the dean of the Yale School of Art. Tamar Garb is the Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at University College London.

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