‘Alice Neel: People Come First’

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Alice Neel: People Come FirstA major show of over 100 paintings, drawings and watercolors, from streetscapes, still lifes and interiors to portraits of a true cross-section of New Yorkers, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through August 1. , this is considered his greatest work.

The largest Neel retrospective ever seen in New York, and for the first time in 20 years, dominating prime Met real estate – Tisch Galleries is typically home to historical figures like Michelangelo, Delacroix, and Courbet, and now only one female artist. This sequence confirms that Neel (1900-1984) was equal, if not superior, to artists such as Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, and was granted icon status at the behest of Vincent van Gogh and David Hockney.

Neel’s star has been on the rise since 1974, when, after several decades on the fringes of the art world, his confronting, solidly painted portraits were finally accepted in a belated poll in the US. Whitney Museum of American Art. Today, she is a cult figure, early feminist, born bohemian, ex-Social Realist, lifelong activist, and a staunch representational painter who bravely resisted, depicting the people and world around her in the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Minimalism.

His greatness lies in the different levels of reality combined in his art. These include social and economic inequalities; deterioration of the body over time; and the complex inner lives of its subjects. Also, Neel has his own unyielding personality that is always present in his work; and the dazzling persistence of his paintings as objects. The show is perfectly set up, from chronological to thematic, linking early and late works and showing Neel’s fluctuations between a variety of realistic styles – tight, loose, expressionist, surreal. The first two galleries cover work from the 1930s to the late 1950s and show how fundamental New York City’s development – ​​its buildings, problems, people and neighborhoods – was. There are several mid-range galleries dedicated to portraits of the 1960s and ’70s, considered by many to be his best work, but the show confirms it was outstanding from the start.

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