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Events/ Ongoing Programs/ MetCelebrates/ Alice Neel: People Come First Virtual Opening

Alice Neel: People Come First Virtual Opening


Also streaming on Facebook and YouTube.

Join Kelly Baum (Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art, Modern and Contemporary Art) and Randall Griffey (Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art), for a virtual tour of Alice Neel: People Come First, which presents Alice Neel (1900-1984) as one of the twentieth century’s most radical artists, a champion of social justice whose longstanding commitment to humanist principles inspired her life as well as her art.

This career-spanning exhibition features over one hundred works, including still-lifes, urban landscapes, and what the artist called "pictures of people." The artist depicted a vast range of individuals, from her neighbors in Spanish Harlem to activists, artists, and performers. Also highlighted are Neel’s erotic watercolors and pastels, her images of mothers, and her paintings of nude figures, all of whose candor and irreverence are without precedent in the history of Western art.

Neel was a longtime resident of New York, and the city served as her most faithful subject. Indeed, the sum total of her work testifies to the drama of its streets, the quotidian beauty of its buildings, and the diversity, resilience, and passion of its residents. “For me, people come first,” Neel declared in 1950. “I have tried to assert the dignity and eternal importance of the human being.”

The exhibition is made possible by the Barrie A. and Deedee Wigmore Foundation.

Major support is provided by the Adrienne Arsht Fund for Resilience through Art.

Additional funding is provided by Angela A. Chao and Jim Breyer, Agnes Gund, and the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund.

It is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The catalogue is made possible by the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc., Daryl and Steven Roth, Sueyun Locks, the Locks Foundation, and the Antoinette Kraushaar Fund.

Questions? Contact us by email or by phone at (212) 570-3755.

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Alice Neel. Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian (detail), 1978. Oil on canvas. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift. © The Estate of Alice Neel


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