Alice Neel

Alice Neil;Alice Neal

1900 (Merion Square, Pa.) – 1984 (New York)

Neel’s psychologically-charged portraits only found approval late in her career. She said she painted the poet/curator O’Hara in the hope of currying favour (it didn’t work). She told Close, introduced in the street by a friend, that she hated his work (he replied that he admired hers). Frank and Leslie cast her in a film as the mother of a young bishop (Ginsberg, whom she painted, also featured). Many of her subjects (a young Robert Smithson, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Linus Pauling, many others) sat relatively briefly for her; ascribing a mutual connection is problematic. But Warhol, shown in full frailty, was a real friend.