Skip to main content

Alice Neel papers, 1933-1983

Neel, Alice, 1900-1984

Painter

Collection Information

Size: 1 Linear foot

Summary: The papers of New York painter Alice Neel measure 1.0 linear foot and date from 1933 to 1983. The bulk of the collection documents the last fifteen years of Neel's career as an artist. Found within the papers are letters from galleries, museums, and art organizations; writings and notes by Neel; exhibition catalogs, clippings, and other printed material; and photographs depicting Neel, exhibitions, and her artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

Alice Neel (1900-1984) was a painter in New York, NY. She was known for her portraits of New York artists and intellectuals. Neel studied painting at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now the Moore College of Art and Design) from 1921-1925. She married Cuban artist Carlos EnrĂ­quez, and they briefly lived in Havana, Cuba. After the break-up of their marriage, she settled in New York City. During the 1930s she worked for the Public Works of Art Project and the Works Progress Administration, painting scenes of urban poverty and developing her distinctive portrait style. She pursued a career as a figurative painter during a period when abstraction was favored, and she did not begin to gain critical praise for her work until the 1960s. Neel received an honorary doctorate from the Moore College of Art and Design in 1971 and a retrospective of her work was held at the Whitney Museum in 1974. During the last decade of her life she finally received extensive national recoginition for her paintings. Neel was also a notable public speaker and often spoke on the topic of women artists.

Provenance

The collection was donated from 1974 to 1983 by Alice Neel.

Related Materials