press release

Alice Neel. Collector of souls

This first ever Dutch exhibition of Alice Neel’s impressively intimate works will include around seventy of her works. Neel is above all a portrait painter or – as she herself proclaimed – ‘a collector of souls’. Her subjects included not just members of her own extended family (lovers, spouses, children and neighbours), but also celebrated members of the American art world like Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson and Frank O’Hara. Her paintings capture not only her sitters’ external selves, but also their inner uncertainties, private vanities and psychological states. The portraits are, as it were, ‘painted truths’: such honest depictions of personalities that the subject’s presence is almost tangible.

While her death has brought a new appreciation on her work, Alice Neel struggled all her life to achieve artistic recognition. This exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag will therefore be many people’s first encounter with her work.