From 04 March 2017 to 17 September 2017
This retrospective of paintings by Alice Neel (1900–1984) – one of North America’s most important female artists, although largely unappreciated during her own lifetime – is the fruit of a collaboration between several European institutions. The exhibition at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles places the US painter and her realist brush firmly in the spotlight. Imbued with a powerful psychological dimension, Neel’s portraits bear witness to almost a century of evolution in attitudes towards gender and ethnicity, and to radical changes in fashion at the heart of American society. Working in an epoch that declared abstraction the new modernism, Neel would always remain a “painter of modern life” as imagined by Baudelaire, with whom she shared the same vision of modernity and the artist’s role in relation to it.
Hallmarked at once by expressionism and realism, Alice Neel’s oeuvre translates the paradoxical personality of its maker, who wanted to paint individuals from all social classes and create a visual history of her time – a “Human Comedy”.
Conceived by Jeremy Lewison, the leading expert on Alice Neel, the exhibition presents more than seventy paintings, including a portrait of Andy Warhol “laid bare” under the artist’s keen gaze. After the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague, the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles welcomes this major exhibition from 4 March to 17 September 2017, after which it will travel on to Germany and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg.
Exhibition curator: Jeremy Lewison
Image: Alice Neel, Jackie Curtis and Ritta Redd, 1970. Oil on canvas, framed: 154.30 x 108.90 cm, unframed: 152.40 x 106.40 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2009.345. © The Estate of Alice Neel