Alice Neel Captures the Souls of Her Sitters, and Translates Them to Canvas
The exhibition, which comprises Neel’s paintings and drawings, provides a window into the artist’s idiosyncratic process—according to Neel, an effort of translation more than anything else. “That’s what I really am,” she once told the New York School critic and curator Henry Geldzahler. “A sympathetic, or sometimes not so sympathetic translator.” Using crooked lines and just slightly off-base colors, Neel lovingly captured the character of those who sat for her in all their flawed humanity. The drawings on display, rendered in black and white on paper, show Neel’s talent for creating lines of a subtly hallucinogenic quality, a callback to the
But as a figurative painter practicing largely in New York at a time in which the art world skewed towards
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