Alice Neel  (American, 1900-1984) 

Alice Neel (American, January 28, 1900–October 13, 1984) is best known for her compelling portraits of her family members, as well as paintings featuring prominent figures from American political and artistic circles, created at a time when portraiture was considered out of fashion. Born outside of Philadelphia, PA, Neel studied art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, developing an identity as a socially-conscious female artist in an era when women were expected to spend their lives as homemakers. She worked with the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s while living in New York, painting images of urban life and often depicting left-wing activists among her subjects. Neel moved to the Spanish section of Harlem, in hopes of finding greater truths among the subjects of the poverty-stricken Puerto Rican community. In the 1960s, she moved to the Upper West Side, and began painting portraits of curators, artists, and critics, including Meyer Shapiro, Robert Smithson (American, 1938–1973), and Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), in addition to activists from the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. Neel was an important role model to other female artists of her era, and she was honored with the International Women’s Year Award, the National Women’s Caucus for Art award, and was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. By the 1970s, Neel finally received critical recognition for her work, and was praised for her ability to portray subjects in candid, contemplative manner, embracing their idiosyncrasies and physical imperfections in monumental portraits, using broad, expressive brushstrokes. In 1984, Neel died in New York, at 84 years of age. Her work has been celebrated in retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among other institutions.

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Artworks for sale (29)
In Art Galleries (29)
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Alice Neel, John


Alice Neel

Mojo Portfolio
Alice Neel, Untitled


Alice Neel
circa 1926

ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries
Alice Neel, King


Alice Neel
circa 1954

Aurel Scheibler
Alice Neel, Robert, Helen and Ed


Alice Neel
Robert, Helen and Ed
circa 1952

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Alice Neel, Installation view


Alice Neel
Installation view
Victoria Miro Gallery
Alice Neel, Installation view


Alice Neel
Installation view
Victoria Miro Gallery
Alice Neel, Installation view


Alice Neel
Installation view
Victoria Miro Gallery
Alice Neel, Max White


Alice Neel
Max White

Victoria Miro Gallery
Alice Neel, Ed Ziff


Alice Neel
Ed Ziff

Victoria Miro Gallery
Past auction results (139)  View All
Alice Neel, Margaret and the Evans Twins


Alice Neel
Margaret and the Evans Twins, 1979
oil on canvas


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Alice Neel, Portrait of Dr. J. Gordin Kaplan


Alice Neel
Portrait of Dr. J. Gordin Kaplan, 1950
oil on canvas


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Alice Neel, Mother and Child (Nancy and Olivia)


Alice Neel
Mother and Child (Nancy and Olivia), 1982
serigraph on paper


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2010   Paintings and Drawings, Aurel Scheibler/ScheiblerMitte, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2010   Painted Truths, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas / Whitechapel Gallery, London / Modern Museet Malmö, Malmö (solo)
2008   Collector of Souls, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (solo)
2007   Pictures of People, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin (solo)
2007   Whack! Art and the Feminist Revolution, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, 4 March - 16
2007   Alice Neel: A Cycle of Life, Victoria Miro, London (solo)
2007   Alice Neel: The Cycle of Life, Victoria Miro Gallery, London 23rd May – 21st July (solo)
2005   Alice Neel’s Women, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. 28 October 2005 – 15 January (solo)
2004   Alice Neel: A Chronicle of New York 1950-1976, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, 1 June – 31 July (solo)
2001   Philadelphia Museum of Art, 18 February to 15 April (solo)
2001   Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, 10 June to 2 September (solo)
2001   Denver Museum of Art, 6 October to 30 December (solo)
2000   Alice Neel, organised by the Philadelphia Museum of Art Whitney Museum of American Art New York, 29 June to 17 September (solo)
2000   Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts, 6 October to 31 December (solo)
1997   Views from Abroad: European Persectives on American Art 3: American Realities, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 10 July to 5 October
1995   Femininmasculin: le se de l’art, Centre Georges Pompidou, 24 October 1995 to 12 February 1996
1993   The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London, 19 November to 6 February 1994
1978   Alice Neel: Retrospective Works on Paper 1926 - 1977, Virginia Miller Galleries, Coconut Grove (Miami), Florida
  (Above are selected posthumous exhibitions)
2007    Alice Neel: The Cycle of Life, London: Victoria Miro Gallery
2004    Jeremy Lewison, ‘Alice Neel: A Chronicle of Her Times’ in Alice Neel A Chronicle of New York 1950-1976, London: Victoria Miro Gallery
2002    Carr, Carolyn, Alice Neel: Women. Mirror of Identity, New York, Rizzoli Temkin, Ann, ed. Alice Neel. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art
1998    Allara, Pamela. Pictures of People: Alice Neel's American Portrait Gallery. Hanover: University Press of New England
1996    Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society. London: Thames and Hudson
1991    Belcher, Gerald and Margaret. Collecting Souls, Gathering Dust: The Struggles of Two American Artists. New York: Paragon House
1985    Castle, Ted, interview with Alice Neel. Alice Neel Paintings since 1970 Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1983    Hills, Patricia. Alice Neel. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
1983    Sutherland Harris, Ann, text of lecture by Alice Neel, Alice Neel: Painting 1933 – 1982. Los Angeles: Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University
1979    Munro, Eleanor. Originals: American Women Artists. New York: Simon & Schuster
   For full biographical and bibliographic details see Temkin, Ann, ed. Alice Neel. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000.