Alice Neel: American portrait painter

July 20, 2016

Alice Neel was born on the 28th January 1900 in Pennsylvania and died in New York in 1984.

Arguably Americas best portrait painter of her time. Alice painted mainly psychologically acute portraits that record the social and economic diversity of mid-twentieth century America. She painted everyday people that included lovers, poets, writers, art critics, friends, family members and those overlooked by society. Her works demonstrate a remarkable range of Neel’s oeuvre over nearly seven decades.

She had a singular artistic vision, a penetrating insight into the personalities of people she painted. Most of her portraits were done from life, a tough test in any artist’s language. Her early works were more tonal than her later works. She gradually moved toward more colourful expressionist works making portraits that could disturb and disorientate the viewer, without making use of extreme expressions or surreal proportions.

Alice worked quickly with a slightly underdone feel and finish to the work so as not to overdo technique and consequently kill the character of the person being painted. The image is my portrait of Alice Neel. Peter.