"I do not pose my sitters. I never put things anywhere. I do not deliberate and then concoct. I usually have people get into something that ́s comfortable for them. Before painting, when I talk to the person, they unconsciously assume their most characteristic pose, which in a way involves all their character and social standing – what the world has done to them and their retaliation. And then I compose something around that. It's much better that way ... When I paint it's not just that it ́s intuitive, it's that I deliberately cross out everything I've read and just react, because I want that ￼spontaneity and concentration on that person to come across."
- Alice Neel
Alice Neel. Pictures of People, Aurel Scheibler, 2007, p.19
Turin – At this year‘s Back to the Future Aurel Scheibler presents a series of late portraits by the American painter Alice Neel (1900 - 1984).
Alice Neel was one of the great American artists of the twentieth century and a pioneer among women artists. A painter of people, landscapes and still lifes, she was never en vogue or in line with contemporary avant-garde movements. Sympathetic to the expressionist spirit of northern Europe and Scandinavia, as well as the darker arts of Spanish painting, Neel developed a style and method distinctly her own. While many contemporaries devoted themselves to the abstract and the purely conceptual, Neel produced poignant, witty and keenly observant portraits. Her exceptional social conscience, rooted in equally strong left-wing beliefs, began with her enrollment in the Works Progress Association in the 1930s and extended to her espousal of feminist and equal rights causes.
The four oil paintings exhibited in Turin were completed in the last decade of
her life. These allude to aspects of her artistic career, personal history and the events of the late twentieth century. They exemplify her expressive brushwork, flamboyant palette, and extraordinary draughtsmanship, while the sitters‘ intense eye contact bears witness the intense rapport she built. Her psychologically penetrating portraits and outspoken personality, made her a cult figure in the art community during the last two decades of her life, in which her visual language has had a major impact on successive generations of painters. A brochure featuring the exhibited works, further text, and biographic material is available upon request.
Alice Neel (b. 1900, USA) trained at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design). She was awarded a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974, was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts
and Letters, received the International Women‘s Year Award (1976), the National Women‘s Caucus for Art Award for Artistic Achievement (1979), and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1983), among others. Her work is represented in such collections
as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Moderna Musset in Stockholm, the MoCA Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the MoMA in New York, the National Gallery of Art and National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Arts, the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich, and the Tate Modern in London. One of her pieces is currently on view at the Palazzo Reale, Milan in the exhibition ‟La Grande Madre“.