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Pregnant Julie and Algis

Alice Neel American

Not on view

Neel painted Julie Hall and her husband, Algis Alkaitis, during a visit to San Francisco in the summer of 1967. She began by rendering Hall in the nude by herself but decided to incorporate Alkaitis when, during a break in the sitting, he lay down next to his wife. His inclusion adds a somewhat menacing presence to the composition, as, fully clothed, he hovers behind Hall, wraps his arm tightly around her head and shoulder, and returns the viewer’s gaze with a stern expression. Neel clearly delighted in rendering the abstract pattern of the red batik bedspread that fills much of the painting. She painted the couple again (both clothed) with their infant child.

Pregnant Julie and Algis, Alice Neel (American, Merion Square, Pennsylvania 1900–1984 New York), Oil on canvas

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Photo by Kerry McFate