Alice Neel: Painter of Modern Life

Texts by Jeremy Lewison and Susanna Pettersson

This insightful catalogue examines anew the full range of Alice Neel’s (1900-1984) celebrated paintings of people, still lifes, and cityscapes. Featuring around seventy paintings spanning the entire length of her career, this handsome book accompanies a major retrospective of her work, and reveals her underlying interest in the history of photography, German painting of the 1920s, and other artists, such as Van Gogh and Cézanne, all of which provided an important precedent for the veracity and raw emotional intensity of her figurative works. Neel is renowned for her visual acuity and psychological depth, and her portraits and nude paintings of friends, family, strangers, and prominent cultural figures alike convey an incredibly consistent intimacy regardless of the relationship to her subject.

The accompanying essays trace the trajectory of Neel’s artistic language as it evolved alongside contemporaneous trends in the New York City art world and examine the manner in which her own work figured into the social and cultural contexts of her time. Created over a sixty-year period, Neel’s oeuvre offers a remarkably expressive document of the specific milieus she navigated through and ultimately transcends the marker of time altogether.


Publisher: Mercatorfonds

Artists: Alice Neel

Contributors: Jeremy Lewison, Susanna Pettersson

Designer: Yanne DEvos, Tijdsbeeld & Pièce Montée, Ghent

Printer: Graphius, Ghent

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 in (24.1 x 29.2 cm)

Pages: 240

Reproductions: 130 color

ISBN: 9780300220070

Retail: $60 | £35

Status: Out Of Print

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

Jeremy Lewison

Jeremy Lewison is an independent curator, writer, and lecturer, and since 2003 has acted as the advisor to The Estate of Alice Neel. He began his career in the art world in 1977 as Curator of Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge. In 1983, he joined Tate Gallery, London as an Assistant Keeper in the Modern Collection, rising to the position of Director of Collections in 1998. In addition to having expertise in British art of the interwar period, he became Tate’s specialist in postwar American art, and was responsible for publications and exhibitions on the works of Jackson Pollock, Sol LeWitt, Brice Marden, and Barnett Newman.