Though Neel’s work can revel in a painterly loveliness, she doesn’t pander to her audience or to her subjects, and it’s not unusual for her paintings to be tough.
“Cezanne said, ‘I love to paint people who have grown old naturally in the country.’
My statement is, ‘I love to paint people mutilated and beaten up by the rat race in New York.'”
Her work is now in the collections of museums and private collectors in the USA and Europe.
As an American portrait artist with an international reputation, Alice Neel was both a woman of her time and an artist with timeless talents.
In 1932 she entered the art world while living in Greenwich Village, NY and called herself “a collector of souls.”. In 1958 she began to paint artists, critics, writers, historians, and other art world figures. In 1970 she painted Andy Warhol, shirtless and scarred after he was shot in the chest and abdomen. By the time she died she had painted a kind of archaeology of the American art world in the 60s and 70s and she had also produced a sizable number of nudes and paintings of pregnant women as well as other portraits.
In 1991 the Philadelphia Museum of Art, organized the first full-scale retrospective of her work, which featured 75 paintings and watercolors. Her portraits of people and places are among the most insightful images in 20th-century American art.