Texts by Tim Griffin and Louise Sørensen
Alice Neel (1900–1984) is widely regarded as one of the greatest portraitists of the 20th century. Described as “the pre-eminent painter-chronicler of New York bohemia” by Deborah Solomon of The New York Times, the artist selected her subjects among from her family, friends, and a broad variety of locals: writers, poets, artists, students, textile salesmen, psychologists, cabaret singers, and homeless bohemians. Thus, her eccentric choices also comprised a portrayal of, and dialogue with, the city in which she lived. Through her forthright and at times humorous touch, her work engaged with ongoing political and social issues, including gender, racial inequality, and labor struggles, and she remains a hero to many of today’s most influential figurative painters, including Marlene Dumas, Eric Fischl, and Elizabeth Peyton.
Published on the occasion of a solo exhibition at David Zwirner in New York in 2012—the second solo exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery since Zwirner started representing her Estate in 2008—this beautifully designed book presents a selection of portraits and still lifes from the last two decades of the artist’s life, made between 1964 and 1983. Anchored by large-scale color reproductions of her compelling compositions, the publication also includes an essay by Tim Griffin, Executive Director and Chief Curator at The Kitchen, New York, and former Artforum editor.