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Alice Neel: People Come First
March 12 - July 10
Alice Neel, “The Spanish Family,” 1943. Oil on canvas, Frame: 36 7/8 x 30 7/8 x 2 in. (93.7 x 78.4 x 5.1 cm) 34 x 28 in. (86.4 x 71.1 cm). © The Estate of Alice Neel. Courtesy The Estate of Alice Neel and David Zwirner.
Alice Neel (1900–1984) was one of the century’s most radical painters, a champion of social justice whose longstanding commitment to humanist principles inspired her life as well as her art. This is the first comprehensive West Coast retrospective of Neel’s work. The award-winning exhibition includes paintings, drawings, and watercolors, along with additional artworks and media exclusive to the San Francisco presentation.
Neel spent most of her life in New York City, and her work testifies to the diversity, resilience, and passion of the people she encountered there. The exhibition includes depictions of Neel’s neighbors in Spanish Harlem, political leaders, queer cultural figures, activists, and mothers, along with a diverse representation of nude figures, including visibly pregnant women. Neel’s “pictures of people” embody a rare candor and irreverence. Together they emphasize her belief in the dignity and worth of all individuals, a view that remains critical to the social and cultural politics of our time.