Alice Neel

Painted Truths

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Past Exhibition


Alice Neel: Painted Truths

08 July – 18 Sept 2010

Influential 20th century American painter Alice Neel, 1900–1984, is best known for her portraits of celebrated artists and writers from New York, including Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara, Meyer Shapiro and Linda Nochlin.

Neel reinvigorated the traditions of portraiture at a time when the predominance of abstract art and the male white painter went largely unchallenged. Her portraits stand out for their psychological insight as much as for their vivid sense of colour and animated brushwork. As well as famous subjects Neel was equally interested in those marginal to mainstream society from Harlem’s immigrant communities to children and the elderly.

Concentrating on her work as a portraitist, the exhibition is structured thematically in a way that mirrors the artist’s way of thinking: the Allegory, the Essential Portrait, the Psychological Portrait, Portraits from Memory, Parents and Children, Nudes, the Detached Gaze and Old Age. A focused selection of cityscapes alongside the concentration on the human form manifests not only Neel’s attachment to the city of New York but her own predicament as a woman artist confined to the domestic environment.

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Spanning nearly seven decades and bringing together more than sixty of her most important works from a host of international public and private collections, this is Neel’s first major exhibition of works in Europe.

An award-winning documentary film, directed by her grandson, Andrew Neel is showing in the Zilkha Auditorium.



The exhibition has been organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Generous funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Supported by:

With additional support from:

Victoria Miro and David Zwirner

Media Partner:

Alice Neel: Painted Truths has been organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Generous funding has been provided by The National Endowment for the Arts.


The De Vegh Twins, 1975, Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 81.3 cm, private collection, Washington, D.C. Photo: Malcolm Varon

Andy Warhol, 1970, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 101.6 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of Timothy Collins.  

Ninth Avenue El, 1935, oil on canvas, 61 x 76.2 cm. Private Collection, courtesy Cheim & Read New York.


Immunity from Seizure

Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 provides immunity from seizure for cultural objects which are loaned to temporary public exhibitions in approved museums or galleries in the UK where conditions are met when the object enters the UK.

The main conditions are:

The object is usually kept outside the UK
The object is not owned by a person who is resident in the UK
The import of the object does not contravene any law
The object is brought into the UK for purpose of a temporary public exhibition at an approved museum or gallery

The Whitechapel Gallery has published this list of objects, which are being loaned to the gallery for a forthcoming exhibition, as information under The Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan (Publication and Provision of Information) Regulations 2008 and that by publishing this information the Gallery makes no representations that any of these objects fulfill all the requirements of the section 134 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.