Alice Neel: Painted Truths

Texts by Tamar Garb, Jeremy Lewison, Robert Storr, and Barry Walker. Artists’ appreciations by Frank Auerbach, Marlene Dumas, and Chris Ofili

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.


Publisher: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Artists: Alice Neel

Contributors: Tamar Garb, Jeremy Lewison, Robert Storr, Barry Walker

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 11 in (24.8 x 27.9 cm)

Pages: 296

Reproductions: 120 color, 26 b&w

ISBN: 9780300163322

Retail: $65 US & Canada | £45 | €56

Status: Available

Alice Neel

Alice Neel was born in 1900 in Merion Square, Pennsylvania, and died in 1984 in New York. With a practice spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, Neel 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, and her eccentric selection was thus a portrayal of, and dialogue with, the city in which she lived. Although she showed sporadically early in her career, from the 1960s onwards her work was exhibited widely in the United States. In 1974, she had her first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

All Alice Neel books