Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Bare Necessities"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

The brave artist Alice Neel, who lived to the age of 84, was largely unknown in the art world until the early 1970's, when she was in two retrospective exhibitions.  "Life begins at seventy!" she said of her new found recognition at the age of 72.

In 1975, Neel began, what took five years, to complete her Self-Portrait, one of only two.  Referring to this unconventional and somewhat shocking portrait, Neel said "the reason my cheeks got so pink was that it was so hard for me to paint that I almost killed myself painting it."

Alice Neel painted dozens of portraits of her lovers, friends, family, artists, poets and even strangers. They are all delightful.  Her total acceptance of her own aging body and laying it out there for all the world to see is most admirable.

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