For those who like biographies, especially of artists and their often twisted lives; for those who enjoy looking at contemporary portraits; and for unabashed fans of the artist Alice Neel, I thought I’d point you toward some online resources that can enhance my review in America of Phoebe Hoban’s biography, Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty.
To see examples of her work, without much commentary, try www.aliceneel.com, the paintings in her estate, where you can quietly and unhurriedly browse decade by decade and linger over your favorite paintings.
There are a number of short, quality videos on YouTube well worth watching. We feature here a snippet of video by Paul Tschinkel, which features an interview with an elderly Neel the year she died. The artist still has a lot of natural beauty and has not lost her candor, wit, or humor. An art historian and an art critic add their views of her and her legacy.
To see a silent demonstration of Neel painting a young sitter, try this link.
The video “Alice Neel" is the official trailer of a documentary made by Neel’s own relative. It features her two sons, friends, and major artists like Chuck Close and even shows Neel inside her own apartment, stacked with canvases, and in the act of painting. There are also photos of her as a child and lovely young woman. I have seen the full documentary, which is moving and disturbing.
Karen Sue Smith