Thursday, June 23, 2011

alice neel

A few weekends ago I sat painting in my tiny corner-of-the-bedroom studio and managed to also watch a few documentaries on American artists (thank you Netflix!). One such film I highly recommend watching is "Alice Neel" (SeeThink Productions - 2007) directed by Alice's grandson Andrew Neel.

This award-winning film chronicles Alice's life and body of work, and easily demonstrates why she is considered to be one of America's premier portrait artists of the 20th century. According to Andrew, "the film is an investigation of the sacrifices she made in order to live and paint the way she wanted." Personally, I was captivated by her life story and equally mesmerized by her body of work that spanned 64 years, specifically the 1970s and 80s. You can find a wealth of information about the film here.

Alice Neel with painting of her daughter in-law via

Alice Neel, 1980 - Self Portrait via

These two quotes from Alice were taken from the documentary and will stay with me forever:
“It’s a privilege to paint. It takes up a lot of time. It means a lot of things you don’t do. Painting has always been more than just a profession. It’s always been an obsession. I had to paint.”

"Man is a measure of all things. You can do anything you will to do. If you’re sufficiently tenacious and interested you can accomplish what you want to accomplish in this world."

Time visiting these Web sites would be time well spent:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Alice -- simply leave me a comment.

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