Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle

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Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle

Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle

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The exhibition gives focus to Neel’s sitters and their stories, their relevance to her and her political views. Isabetta’s birth was the inspiration for Well Baby Clinic (1929), a bleak portrait of a maternity ward more reminiscent of an insane asylum. Add to that a misogynist establishment and it’s perhaps not surprising that it wasn’t until the 1960s that Neel achieved due recognition.

A 1926 portrait of Neel’s first (indeed only) husband, the Cuban artist Carlos Enríquez, who all but kidnapped their child, has overtones of El Greco. For me, people come first,” journalist Mike Gold quotes Neel saying in 1950 in The Daily Workers , a newspaper published by the Communist Party USA.Always, you feel a communion between artist and sitter, as Neel seeks to paint “what the world has done to them and their retaliation”. Based predominantly in New York, Neel painted figuratively during a period in which it was deeply unfashionable to do so. Choosing an art world subject like O’Hara, rather than the local families, friends and activists she had tended to paint, brought with it a new degree of attention.

Even as her canvases moved away from the streets of Harlem, Neel remained a committed Communist Party member throughout her adult life. Speaking on her pregnant nudes, Neel said, “It isn’t what appeals to me, it’s just a fact of life… I feel as a subject it’s perfectly legitimate, and people out of a false modesty, or being sissies, never show it… Something that primitives did, but modern painters have shied away from because women were always done as sexual objects. In the French financial newspaper Les Echos, Judith Benhamou also focuses on the political nature of portrait painting in the 20th century.

One of the reasons I painted was to catch life as it goes by, right hot off the griddle… the vitality is taken out of real living.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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