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Xavier Hufkens

Alice Neel

Alice Neel is widely recognised as one of the great American painters of the twentieth century. Her success, however, has largely been posthumous. In the past decade, interest in her work has grown exponentially, with a series of landmark exhibitions and art historical studies firmly cementing her position on the international stage.

Neel’s oeuvre is fascinating on two counts: not only was she an incredibly gifted painter, but also an astute and idiosyncratic chronicler of some of the most tumultuous decades in American history. While she also painted landscapes and still lifes, Neel is best known as a painter of people. Her sitters included artists, writers, intellectuals and family members, as well as people living on the margins of society, particularly immigrants. Deeply committed to equality and social justice, Neel was interested in the human struggle for survival, and in mankind’s capacity for resilience in the face of hardship and deprivation. With her distinctive brushwork and remarkable feel for colour, Neel succeeded in capturing the inner psychological depths of her sitters. Her commitment to truth and dedication to figuration—unfashionable during her lifetime—ensured that her work remained permanently out of kilter with avant-garde movements such as abstract expressionism, pop art and minimalism. Yet her uncompromising approach gave rise to a unique and highly individualistic body of work that continues to exert an influence on contemporary artistic production.

Alice Neel was born in 1900 in Pennsylvania and died in 1984 in New York. She has been honoured with two retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art: one in 1974, and a centennial, posthumous exhibition in 2000, which was initiated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art where it was shown in 2001. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, organised a major exhibition entitled Alice Neel: Painted Truths in 2010. The exhibition travelled to the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and the Moderna Museet, Malmö. Today her work can found in the collection of major international museums. In 2021, The Metropolitan Museum opened a major travelling retrospective of her work. Un Regard Engagé, an important survey organised by Centre Pompidou, will open in 2022.

Selected Images

Selected media

  • Jeremy Lewison in conversation with Angela Lampe

    On the occasion of Alice Neel in New Jersey and Vermont (2018)

  • A Conversation with Jeremy Lewison

    On the occasion of the exhibtion at Xavier Hufkens (2015)

Exhibitions

Publications

  • Publication

    Alice Neel
    Alice Neel in New Jersey and Vermont

    texts by Jeremy Lewison and Philip Larratt-Smith, published by Xavier Hufkens, 2018, 96 pages, English

    Order — 30€
  • Publication

    Alice Neel
    Painter of Modern Life

    edited by Jeremy Lewison, published by Mercatorfonds & Ateneum Art Museum, 2016, 239 pages, English

    Sold out
  • Publication

    Alice Neel

    text by Elisabeth Lebovici, published by Xavier Hufkens, 2015, 72 pages, English, French

    Sold out
  • Publication

    Alice Neel
    PEOPLE COME FIRST

    texts by Kelly Baum and Randall Griffey, with contributions by Meredith A. Brown, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Susanna V. Temkin, published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2021, 256 pages, English

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News

  • Museum Exhibition

    Alice Neel
    People Come First

    A major travelling retrospective on the work of Alice Neel.

    22 March—1 August 2021
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA

  • Museum Exhibition

    Alice Neel in Mother!

    21 April—29 August 2021
    Group exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark

    External link
  • Museum Exhibition

    Alice Neel in Close Up

    19 September 2021—2 January 2022
    Group exhibition at Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland

    External link
  • Fair

    Art Basel OVR:20c

    Alice Neel, Six Decades
    28—31 October 2020