Alice Neel was born in 1900 in Merion Square, Pennsylvania, and died in 1984 in New York. With a practice spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s, Neel is widely regarded as one of the foremost American painters of the twentieth century. Based in New York, Neel selected her sitters from among her family members, friends, neighbors, and a variety of New Yorkers, and her eccentric portraits are thus a portrayal of, and dialogue with, the city in which she lived. Although she showed sporadically early in her career, from the 1960s onward her work was exhibited widely in the United States. In 1974, she had her first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
"Alice Neel's incisive, personal portraits fill the pages of
Uptown, by The New Yorker's Hilton Als."--Staff "New
"It's a fully human depiction, and it doesn't use the black or brown body to advance what Als calls an 'ideological cause.' Benjamin as rendered by Neel is simply a black child, being. How powerful is that? Like Als on the page today, Neel's paintings then captured all that she loved about the city, which is to say she imaged figures she knew had to be seen to be remembered."--Antwaun Sargent "Interview"
"In lieu of a single essay, Als intervenes between the paintings with ruminations on individual images. He fixates on the young man in Call Me Joe, 1955...He lingers on the exquisite watchfulness of the sallow-skinned, blue-frocked girl clutching a blonde baby doll in Julie and the Doll, 1943..."--Kate Sutton "BOOKFORUM"