Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Robert Smithson

Alice Neel American

Not on view

Made during the time when Neel began to actively participate in and identify with the mainstream contemporary art world—after decades of working in different but parallel creative and political contexts—this painting of a young Robert Smithson (1938–1973) is one of her earliest portraits of a new generation of artists and art-world celebrities. Neel invited Smithson to sit for her and sketched his gangly frame in virtuosic strokes, highlighting his sharply angular features. Notably, she renders his acne-stricken cheeks in reddish tones, in a manner typical of her unvarnished approach to her subjects. In making visible his painful affliction, Neel tempers the intensely focused and brooding stance of the erudite Smithson with a sense of human frailty.

Robert Smithson, Alice Neel (American, Merion Square, Pennsylvania 1900–1984 New York), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.