From Publishers Weekly
Instantly recognizable near-grotesques, Neel's portraits may not be quite flattering, but they are always revealing, of subjects and the psycho-cultural space they inhabit. Collected here by Carr, deputy director of the National Portrait Gallery, these 125 crisply reproduced color plates draw an intense power via their restriction to women and girls: one can feel the artist meditating on (and sometimes seething about) what it means to be a woman. A portrait of the artist Isabel Bishop shows her in a simple blue wool dress, looking wryly askance. "Isabetta" shows a naked, pre-pubescent girl standing and staring directly at the viewer, like a powerfully defetishized Balthus. The paintings are organized by subject ("Mother and Child," "Pose," "Children," "Nudes") rather than chronology, and it's a decision that works-Neel's deliberate looks come across clearly through repetition of gesture and posture. Anyone turned off by Neel (1900-1984), should take a second look via this book; fans looking for a concentrated dose of Neel at her best should look no further.Matisse-Picasso exhibit, opening in New York in February.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"That [Alice Neel] was the finest portraitist of the twentieth-century seems beyond controversy."--James Gardener, New York Post
"Sexually candid and socially inclusive, Alice Neel's paintings were often ahead of her time."--Raphael Rubinstein, Art in America
"Preeminent as a portrait painter, Alice Neel is also notable as one of the most important women artists of her time."--Linda Chase, Naples Museum of Art