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Harlem River at Sedgwick Avenue

Alice Neel American

Not on view

Soon after moving to New York with her husband, Carlos Enríquez, and their infant daughter Santillana, Neel relocated to the Bronx in the winter of 1927. This verdant, possibly springtime view of the Harlem River from near their apartment on Sedgwick Avenue verges on abstraction, its expressionism reminiscent of View of Toledo by El Greco, an artist for whom Neel professed admiration. The bold lines and sweeping impasto of Neel’s painting not only experiment with fluidity and solidity but also make evident her commitment to structure, dividing the canvas into discernible tiers between the near bank, the middle river, and the far shore. Far from painting a simple landscape, Neel compressed the features of the riverine scene and tightly condensed bridges, boats, and buildings into a composition that focuses on the agitated sense of a place rather a fixed location.

Harlem River at Sedgwick Avenue, Alice Neel (American, Merion Square, Pennsylvania 1900–1984 New York), Oil on canvas

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Photo by Ethan Palmer