Art Stroll

Art Stroll: Matisse Red Studio, MoMA

Two weeks ago I had a lovely day in the city and it was the perfect day to visit the new Matisse Red Studio exhibition at MoMA. What a treat!!! The exhibition is small-ish – which is good – and has kind of two big rooms. We decided to keep the one with the main treasure namely the Red Studio for last and that was a perfect decision.

“Studio under the Eaves” 1903 – Matisse painted his studio and parts of it several times and that makes so much sense given that an artist studio is also an artist’s world. In this work the studio looks a little sad – while the look out of the window provides a look at a much more vibrant and fun world. Maybe this is in part because Matisse in his early career had soem personal and financial troubles and as we see…the artist world def. improved to a more vivid space later.

“Still Life with Geraniums” 1910 – in this painting we see some of the paintings – in his studio – but just peaks of it.

“The Blue Window” 1913 is actually a view out of his bedroom window onto his studio.

Nasturtiums with the Painting “Dance” I , 1912 – The flowers in the vase are the same as in the Painting of Red Studio – the leg of the table on which the vase stands seem to be connected with his painting in the background.

“Studio, Quai Saint-Michel” 1916

So brilliant ..the depiction of the model in his studio…as a painting.

“Large Red Interior” 1948

This connects to the Red Studio – the star of this exhibition to which we go next- from 1911 . This painting is actually his last finished oil painting.

OK- moving to the main star(s)

“The Red Studio” 1911

Matisse is said to have made his studio subject of his paintings whenever he wanted to explore about where he was in that particular moment of time with his art and life. The red studio didn’t start out as a red studio. The floor was pink, the wall was blue and the furniture was yellow. But after a month he made the decision and coated the surface excluding his artwork and objects of inspiration with Venetian Red. He said about his painting that he likes it but that he doesn’t understand his painting.

Gathered in the room are the artworks as far as they could be retrieved that are in the painting.

“Le Luxe II” 1907 –

I loved this painting which hasn’t been on display since the 60s.

“Upright Nude with Arched Back,” 1906-1907

“Female Nude” 1907 – Matisse worked for a year with a ceramicist and he loved the work. He was very interested in decorative art.

“Young Sailor II” 1906 –

“Nude with White Scarf” 1909

“Corsica, The Old Mill” 1898 – This painting was made when he was first married and he and his wife spend about six months in Corsica. Matisse would talk about the time in Corsica as being really transformative.

One painting that couldn’t be borrowed for the exhibition was the Large Nude because Matisse had asked that it would be destroyed after his death. Why we do not know. This is one of several studies of the painting.

It was a wonderful exhibition – what a beautiful idea to gather all those works, to also show other works with his studio as the subject – it was a great glimpse into his world. Makes me want to paint my studio as well :) Hope you liked this art stroll. If you have a chance to see this exhibition in person- go!!!

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Art Stroll: Glass House, New Canaan

A couple weeks ago we took a day off and went to New Canaan in Connecticut to see Philip Johnson’s Glass House.

The Glass House was built in 1949 and Philip Johnson actually lived in it until his death in 2005.

It is an incredible building – it feels like you are part of the surrounding and it felt surprisingly cosy and livable in there.

It is amazing to think that this design is from 1949 and yet it feels just timeless. I would also not say no to those Barcelona Chairs of course ..but they weren’t offered to me :)

Apparently you can kind of donate your way into spending a night in the house …for only 30K Dollars it is yours for a couple hours …but I think you can skip that experience and just visit the grounds

A round bathroom – how cool is that!

I liked the spot of the desk.

And the ingenuity of the kitchen – the counter top can be put down and up above the sink and stove !

Apparently many famous people climbed this sculpture, the Monument to Kirstein Lincoln, and signed it on the top. There is also an inscription on the top – which is not revealed, you have to climb it, but that is actually forbidden. Probably a good idea as it is not a very safe structure. As many aren’t on the property – Philip Johnson apparently liked to play with “Safe Danger”

At the lake down a hill you can find a pavillion which upon approach reveals to be a trick of perspective and scale: It is much smaller when you would think when you are up the hill and in fact – if you were allowed to go in even my 5.3ft self would have to crouch.

I thought that was fun and playful .

Can you guess what this is? It is a dog house …we had to ask. When I showed this photo to my friend Bill, who is also an architect, he knew right away it is a dog house …I guess that is how architects envision one LOL.

The painting gallery looked almost like a bunker from the outside – very interesting inside- three circular display rooms- with rotating racks – so like a rolodex system you can display art or prepare new exhibitions without long closing times. Genius!

Johnson’s collection of Frank Stella’s Art through the years was on display

It was interesting to see how Stella’s art changed to more 3dimensional art over the course of the years.

And also to more colorful art.

The piece above is the oldest piece in the collection.

Another building on the ground is the Sculpture Gallery – it was mostly closed off but you could still see most of the pieces.

Loved this one – I am not sure whose this is – I guess I can do some more research but maybe one of you knows :)

It was an interesting building but again- you were not allowed to walk it – apparently it is a bit of a safety concern with the very low walls on the sides and the perspective being a bit off.

I do love Johnson’s use of brick!

The swimming pool in front of the Glass House- another token to “Safe Danger” – being the pool is shaped like a cone and there is only one small spot you can get out easily. The lore has it that teenagers used to jump the wall to the property and do some diving and then be a bit surprised LOL.

I really enjoyed the trip – full disclosure- upon doing some more research later into you Philip Johnson, I found out he had some profound crazy political views- he was a Hitler admirer during World War II and his inspiration for the Glass House came from a burned house in Poland during World War II . That was a total damper for me after a great day there. It is always an interesting discussion how art should be viewed distanced from the artist’s life or not …hard if the inspiration as usual comes from your own life and views. In a way I am glad I experienced the day without this knowledge – I think I would have looked at it through a different lens. Nonetheless I find it important to see these places and acknowledge that while the art or architecture itself may be good, interesting, important- we also need to acknowledge and know about the circumstances, history, inspiration that lead up to them.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love that pool! Quite the unique house. I must say that his political views do put a damper on the experience.

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Art Stroll: Storm King

Yeah we made it back to Storm King and this time we knew we wanted to rent bikes to be able to see more of the vast area. You cannot bring your own bikes but it was ok to rent the bikes.

I loved being able to just leave the bikes at the side of a sculpture and then walk up to it – given that it was a pretty hot day once again (last time it was even hotter we were there) the bike ride also created some nice breeze LOL.

I think this one was called the frog …

I loved this stone wall weaving in and out along the tree line

Three Legged Buddah by Zhang Huan, 2007 – gorgeous

This little scene was charming …It is so fun to walk or bike around and look out for the artwork. I think sculpture gardens might be one of my favorite things!

Last time we didn’t make it up close to this one – It almost invites you to climb- I wonder how many kids are tempted.

Helixikos Number 3, 1969 – I wonder where Number 1 and 2 are ;) I loved this sculpture – it wants to be touched but I was a good lady :)

Almost missed this one…

because this Dude is riding too fast ….slow down man- you miss the artwork!

Doesn’t this just look as if it belongs into the landscape?

I love the different layers and textures on this one.

Reclining Man by Josef Pillhofer from 1964 made me smile – hard to photograph but I think you get the picture.

Most of the Gallery was closed – I think because of covid- but the outside art was more than enough to spend hours there. We saw way more art but I didn’t want to be repetitive with what I showed in my post a while ago – even though seeing things again was amazing. Definitely a great place to visit and I am sure we will be a back in a couple years and maybe in a different season again.

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    I can’t imagine a kid not trying to climb that white piece that looks like a crazy slide with rings. LOL
    Helixikos Number 3 I would love to have in my yard!
    Thanks for sharing your stroll Nat.

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  • Robin

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    This looks wonderful. If you haven’t been to the sculpture gardens in Hamilton NJ, it should be a must for your list. Such a wonderful place!

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Art Stroll: Back at MoMA

It felt so good to be back at MoMA last month – since I haven’t been there for 18 months. On our anniversary we went for a nice day in the city and a fantastic dinner – and so MoMA was a big part of the nice day.

I am not obsessed with cars, in fact most of you probably do not even know that I never had a driver’s license- yep …true city kid here – but …if you would give me this car..I would def. get one LOL. What a beauty!

Love this painted car hood by Judy Chicago. Judy Chicago actually enrolled at an auto body school in order to learn spray painting after she completed her masters of arts.

Wonderful Alexander Calder exhibition – Modern from the Start – a bit different from the one a while ago at the Whitney.

I did love this mobile – I forgot the name but it was something with snow …which makes sense. If it wasn’t something with snow..well, I am sticking to it …it should be ;)

I have never seen his pieces made out of steel wire- they were so cool – the movement and shadows!

So fun!

I would take this little marquette- it makes me so happy and it would fit perfectly into my studio ;)

The other big exhibition at this time was Cézanne’s Drawings – a gazillion sketches and studies by him. I have to admit I wasn’t really taken by this exhibition. Although I do love to see sketches and studies and where they are going, it felt just so repetitive to me and it felt more like a sketch dump to me than really a curated exhibition. But then …what do I know …I also didn’t do the work to read anything about the show to see if that then would make more sense. But I loved the Study of Trees above.

As well as this sketch and the drawings below

because they were so different and I would have loved to actually see if they resulted in something else

Love how Cèzanne painted the pattern on the curtain!

In the permanent collection some changes- loved to see this piece by Roberto Matta “Here, Sir Fire, Eat!” from 1942 . There is a lot to see in this painting and I am still not sure what alludes to this title!

This painting by Sonja Sekula “The Town of the Poor” 1951 – oil on canvas- was just stunning. the blue and yellow washes – the lines depicting the view from her downtown NYC studio which she sahred with John Cage and Merce Cunningham.

Now to pieces by William H. Johnson – Jitterbuggs II above and below Blind Singer.

Both pieces are Screenprints with hand additions.

Norman Lewis, Untitled 1949 …it is funny sometimes I am cool with no title and sometimes I think “lazy Dude” LOL.

And then you have titles like this “Five Feet of Colorful Tools” by Jim Dine …stating the obvious but nonetheless pretty cool :)

The Family by Marisol Escobar – paint and graphite on wood, sneakers, tinted plaster, door knob and plate. Marisols sculptures made primarily with blocks of wood combine painting and figurative drawing with found objects. “In the beginning, I drew on a piece of wood because I was going to carve it, and then I noticed that I didn’t have to carve it, because it looked as if it was carved already”

Tom Wesselmann – Still LIfe #57 – speaking of lazy titles LOL.

And in this potpourri of artwork – my favorite of that stroll – Noah Purifoy – Unknown 1967 – painted wood with parasol armature and handle, found wood, pasted papers, backgammon and poker chips, fishing pole, wire, birdcage parts and other materials.

“As a young artist in Los Angeles, Purifoy was profoundly influenced by the 1965 Watts Rebellion, six days of civil unrest by residents of Watts and other predominantly African American neighborhoods of the city in response to decades of racial injustice. In the event’s aftermath, the artist collected charred debris form the streets and assembled it into a series of sculptures, a technique that would define his practice for years to come. Unknown, though more joyful and playful than other of his works, is a rare surviving example of his early assemblages. With its easily identifiable castoff objects, it suggests a question central to Purifoy’s practice “How …you tie the art process in with existence.” (MoMA wall plaque)

Hope you enjoyed this Back at MoMA ArtStroll!

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    “Here, Sir Fire, Eat!” really calls out to me!
    I so enjoy these posts Nat. Almost like I went myself.

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Art Stroll: Newark Museum

Visiting the Newark Museum, NJ was long long overdue …in fact it was already overdue when Kim and I had planned a visit in March 2020 but alas …you get the picture. Anyway finally we were able to go in July this year and boy oh boy what a treasure Museum this is. Def. have to go back.

I am starting with this beauty by NJ-Artist Bisa Butler– The Warmth of Other Sons, 2020.

It was stunning to see her work in real life. The piece is based on a photo of an unidentified family traveling north as part of the Great Migration. In the original photos the boy in the foreground had no shoes, she gave him shoes on purpose – taking care of him as she stated in this interview.

Bisa uses fabrics sourced from Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa to create live sized quilt portraits.

Also in the Museum was a piece of Bisa from 2011- Flowers of Faith – I love seeing how the idea for her work has been consistent but how it evolved so amazing!

Such a powerful piece! Lady Walking a Tightrope, 2006. Yinka Shonibare. Nigeria.

  • Man with Bicycle – Mid 20th Century but an unrecorded Yoruba artist in Nigeria.

Moccasins from the late 19th – early 20th century but a Lakota artist. So modern and amazing.

“Many Came Back” by El Anatsui, Ghana

A wonderful wallhanging made of liquor bottle tops and copper wire.

The following pieces were part of a room about Pop Culture and Religion in Contemporary Art. “The varieties of religious experience run wide and deep in America, and yet we are bound together by our shared democratic values and a common culture of material consumption. Far from comprehensive, this installation brings together works from the permanent collection that explore intersections between spirituality and pop culture. Using diverse materials – including yarn, cigarette wrappers and discarded clothing – and sources a disparate as graphic novels and Buddhism, these works tell stories and contemporary parables in styles that range from documentary to abstract, from handmade to high tech.”

Top Cross by Edrick Jenkins made with Camel cigarette wrapper paper and the bottom cross by Jon Bok made with bottle caps and saw blades

Millennial Guardian Angel by Newark Artist Jo-El Lopez.

The Newark Museum is also a really beautiful building by the way – we didn’t get to sit down in the hall but in non Covid19 times I might.

YEAHHA!

Domestic Shield V by Willie Cole – Scorched Canvas mounted on wood and ironing board. In the 80s “…Willie Cole became pre-occupied with the steam iron as a domestic, symbolic, and artistic object, and began using iron scorch marks in a series of works to evoke human faces, masks and boats. In Domestic Shield V, these scorch marks reference African ritual scarification and branding practices, while the ironing board itself alludes to the work of African American domestic laborers.”

Slave Rape Story Quilt – Faith Ringgold 1985″The Slave Rape story was very hard to do. There is so much we don’t know about black women during slavery – it simply hasn’t been written. I read a lot and I simply made up the rest from what I thought to be true. The facts I researched, but the events are manipulated in order to bring a message of the sheer horror of slavery for black women in America.” Faith Ringgold, 1985

Girl Skipping Rope by Hale Woodruff 1959

Danza Ritual (Ritual Dance) by Carlos Mérida, Guatemala 1962

The abstract treatment of the figure in this painting refers directly to the motifs of ancient Mayan art. He was also influenced by Cubism and Surrealism.

Joseph Stella – The Voice of the City of New York Interpreted” 1920- 1922

This Multi -Panel Painting is reminiscent of altar pieces – Stella portrayed American Engineering and technology as a kind of new religion, an association reinforced by the deep, saturated colors – like stained-glass windows.

King Kong and Fay Wray ca. 1933 by an unidentified artist. This sculpture was likely created to decorate the lobby of a movie theater to celebrate the opening of the film King Kong

Fright by William Henry Johnson – a Serigraph on Posterboard ca. 1985

The Sole Sitter – another piece by Willie Cole, 2013. ..Look closely

“I surround myself with images of African sculptures…these images get embedded in my subconscious and re-emerge almost effortless in my work.”

I hoped you enjoyed this art stroll as much as Kim and I did. Timed tickets, masks, vaccination proof and a temperature check made sure we felt safe and sound and could enjoy the art – We will be back for sure!

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Flowers of Faith is gorgeous. The John Deer one could be seen in my neighborhood IRL during the summer and fall, Sole Sitter is so so clever! TFS your art adventure Nat.

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  • Andrea R Huelsenbeck

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    I lived in New Jersey for the first half of my life and never knew there was an art museum in Newark. Next time I go back, this is on my list of things to see. Thanks, Nathalie.

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Art Stroll: Murals in Jersey City Part 3

As promised here are some more Murals that have been created recently in Jersey City – you can see all the Art Strolls here btw :)

This made me smile- Popeye and a smiley face ..and very graphic designs- YASS

Love how the grid of the wall works with the woman.

I loved how the light this day reinforced the movement of this friendly critter :)

This whole mural is amazing!

Awesome colors and patterns!

And I love this one with all those eyes and the Dude Shhhhhh – I have been trying to think who that actually is …maybe you can help me :)

Different Murals by different artists- such a cool wall!

And yeah “Welcome to Jersey City! ”

I love how these murals change the environment from something you really do not want to spent much time around to …something more exciting and interesting.

How cool is that????

I am just amazed by the skills that people have!

Makes me feel like a total looser using my spray paint …

This one is def. a bit older but I haven’t been in the area for a while- it is at a really nice little park where a lot of events take place – like yoga, little lectures about birds or plants. Def. hope I can catch one of those events during this summer.

And that was the Murals of Jersey City Part 3 …but I promise you …there is more and there will be another part in a couple months for sure :)

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Love that Panda!
    That is Silent Bob from the movie Dogma.

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Art Stroll: Murals in Jersey City Part 2

It has been a while since I blogged about the many Murals that you will find in Jersey City and after a recent Mural Festival I thought it would be time to get out on the bike and check out the new murals that popped up and make it separate ArtStroll instead of adding it just to my usual Stroll Through the Hood Posts.

I love the mix of paste up and spray paint on this mural!

This Bridge is not the most pleasant area not because of safety concerns in regards to people but as I told my friend Kim jokingly ..if a drop falls down on me from the top …will it burn a whole into my skin? Urban Humor I guess ;) Let’s sweep that concern under the concrete ;)

Concrete Jungle that is!

I love that the balcony above the eyes says “I am Paralyzed”

I am always amazed about how much spray paint just glows and vibrates and I love how the texture of the bridge pillar is so visible.

Stunning Mural – and as you can see with the door and car as a reference …pretty pretty big!

It is so much fun to see the different murals – Love the “Stay Hungry” and “Keep Rockin” phrases and all the different fonts created!

The red stairs and the broken ceiling to the warehouse make this dragon even cooler!

Look at the depiction on the right of this mural and then check out Jesse Kreuzer’s post about it on instagram. Unfortunately it looks like something was painted over this- I didn’t realize it when I was spinning around to take the picture but now I want to go back and check it.

I love the staggered look of different murals on this building and there was even a couple in their wedding attire to take some photos. What a great idea for some cards. And how funny that nowadays people are just embracing murals versus years and years ago people would just see it as vandalism. Things have changed a lot.

Slaves Of The Algorithm – awesome commentary on today’s social media insanity by

Love this!

I just love the whole scene- the graffiti, the pipes, broken concrete, different textures on the wall – things like this give me a buzz!

How cool is this? One of the bridge pillars and after painting the background probably just done with one of those super duper thick graffiti markers. This makes me want to go and create a pattern similar into my art journal.

Hope you enjoyed this little JC Art Stroll. I will do another one very soon and show you some more new murals in my hood :)

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke

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    These are really art! Do you know if people get permission to create them? I figure they must take a while and one could get “caught”. They are much more creative than the graffiti that I used to see in the city around MA.

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    • nathalie-kalbach

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      Sue, that is a great question. Jersey City actually has a very extensive Mural program and lot of world renown street artists have left their mark here. A lot of these new murals in this post were created during a Mural Festival, which I unfortunately missed. Often times you see non permanent murals or graffiti also on construction fences – which I believe is also with kind of a “Permission” …You are right, those really big murals are almost impossible to do in the middle of the night since there is a lot of work, and machinery involved.

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  • Vee

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    THANKS again Natalie for this mural stroll.
    I have gone ‘off the beaten path’ to view murals in small town and cities.
    Abandoned building, bridges, storage buildings, etc. have become the canvases and it is no longer a crime
    for street artists to express.
    Thanks also for recognizing these artists!

    Reply

    • nathalie-kalbach

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      So glad you enjoyed it Vee. It is really interesting how now it is not seen as vandalism in most parts anymore- although occasionally a post pops on one of the neighborhood groups asking to have the murals or graffiti removed. I am in awe by most of those artists skills!

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Art Stroll: Random Galleries at Met Museum, NYC

Last month we went to see the Alice Neel exhibition at the Met and were incredibly lucky to be in an almost empty museum – so I thought I would share some more random gallery pictures with you.

To be honest the Modern Art gallery is never super crowded at the Met but never this empty and nonetheless it was a treat to be for several minutes absolutely alone with the artwork. My heart was so full after not being in any museum for over a year.

Rothko was singing…

Pollock was moving…

Nevelson was inviting us to Mrs. N’s Palace …

but then still decided to socially distance from the viewer.

Edna Andrade invited us for a “Summer Game” – which made me very happy

Sam Gilliam made me think rebellious thoughts on how to use canvas cloth …

And boy, Pollock was just super demanding… such an ego …but …

Can you blame him???

There I stood and just thought “wow …what a wonderful day this is”

Klimt’s Mäda Primavesi looked rather inquisitive as if to say “where have you been, it was really boring here!”

it was tempting to dance through the empty hall, and I think…

Serena knew that too – she gave me a little smile but asked to contain myself

And so I moved on …

And said hello to this magnificent statue

and details in stone…

And then it was time to leave …as there is only so much you can take in and Alice Neel’s exhibition was also already behind us. What a wonderful day this was. Weeks later I remain on a high, how much I missed this. I hope you enjoyed the Artstroll – cannot wait for the next one. 

Comments (2)

  • Andrea R Huelsenbeck

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    It’s been so long since I’ve been to the Met. Thank you for sharing your photos. I hope I can visit–maybe next year.

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  • Vee

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    Your STROLLS are so FULL!! Your experience ‘feeds’ me in so many ways.
    You make me chuckle with your choice of words, you make me think abut the way you looked
    at something, you made me feel (dance) (boring), and you always inspire me.
    I ALWAYS want your strolls to go on! MORE, More, more
    THANKS

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Art Stroll: Alice Neel at Met Museum, NYC

Last weekend we were able to visit a museum in the first time in over a year. The exhibition “People Come First – Alice Neel” was calling us and after the first hesitation of the thought to be in a closed area with other people I bought some timed tickets for 10am on a Sunday morning. Boy was that the best decision ever. Besides the fantastic exhibition, this was a once in a life time experience at the Met …we entered almost every gallery alone …it was amazing and after such a long time of no artstrolls, seeing art in person was exhilarating. But let’s check out the fantastic Alice Neel exhibition.

“Fish Market”, 1947

Alice Neel was born in 1920 and died in 1984. The earliest of hier paintings in the exhibition was from 1920 and the oldest one from 1984. Alice Neel saw herself as a collector of souls – painting pictures of people not portraits. She was a political painter in the choice of who she painted, what she painted and the way how she painted.

“Mercedes Arroyo”, 1952

Mercedes Arroyo was a social activist in East Harlem. Neel declared in 1950 – echoing Arroyo’s principles “East Harlem is like a battlefield of humanism, and I am on the side of the people here”

“Futility of Effort”, 1930

This abstract painting is one of two experiences: of the loss of Neel’s daughter to diphtheria and a newspaper article Neel wrote about a mother who lost her child when sie was ironing in the kitchen next door, when her child choked on the bars of her crib. Motherhood and the struggles tied to it is a reoccurring subject of Neels paintings.

“Rita and Hubert”, 1954. Hubert Satterfield, a writer and his girlfriend Rita (we do not know what she did).

“Peggy”, 1949

Peggy was a victim of domestic abuse and Neel chose to represent her with the bruises and abrasions left by her boyfriend’s recent assault.

“Dominican Boys on 108th Street”, 1955

While we know those are boys I find them so adult-ish in their gaze and demeanor.

“The Black Boys”, 1967

Neel made this painting of the two young boys Toby and Jeff Neal and I love how you can see the boredom but also discipline to sit this through in those boys. I loved reading an article on how one of the brothers has just seen the painting of him in the very first time after it was finished at the Met and the background story.

“Richard Gibbs” 1968

So vibrant – what is he thinking?

“David Bourdon and Gregory Battcock”, 1970

Bourdon was an editor at Life Magazine, Battcock was an art critic. What a weird juxtaposition of someone in a suit comfortably sitting in an armchair and the other person in his underwear, on an ottoman.

“Jackie Curtis as a Boy” 1972.

Jackie Curtis was a prominent figure in Manhattan’s Lower East side and became very well known when entering the orbit of Andy Warhol. This painting was painted two years later than the one below. This painting reveals the other side of Curtis and play with gender.

“Jackie Curtis and Ritta Redd”, 1970

I love the torn panty hose showing the big toe!

Here you get an idea how empty the galleries were. It was amazing.

“Andy Warhol”, 1970

Andy Warhol was shot in June 1968 and he had many operations to save his life. He is exposing himself to the viewer – his scars, his corset, his eyes are closed, the man who always looked. A very vulnerable painting of Warhol.

“Nancy and Olivia”, 1967 – drawing from art history the subject of mother and child.

“Madame Roulin and Her Baby”, 1888

“Thanksgiving” , 1965

A funny painting and one that Americans well know! Neel was very well versed in art history – the reference below shows the same kind of loose brushwork and food painted into abstraction

“Still Life with Rayfish” ca. 1924 by Chaim Soutine

I did not only love how Neel captured her subjects but also how much humor there was in her paintings.

“Self-Portrait”, 1980

One of her only true self portraits where she is a main subject. Provocative to paint herself nude as an older woman. Neel emphasizes her professional identity by showing the tools of her trade in this painting as well.

“Black Draftee (James Hunter)”, completed 1965

Neel met Hunter on the streets of NY – he came for two sittings. The story goes that he was never able to return as he was called to the Vietnam War. Neel decided the painting is finished. This painting was so touching – for me today it told a different story as well .. the many unfinished lifes of Black Men in America!

“Nazis Murder Jews”, 1936

“107th and Broadway”, 1976

This a view of Neel’s final apartment on the the Upper West Side.I love this – the light, the shadow of the other building, the hint of the bodega on the corner. After looking at all the gazes of people Alice Neel painted, this gave me a little breathing time …maybe she used this view to rest a bit too from all the soul collecting she did, it must have been at times really exhausting.

A great exhibition – and if you are in the area, I recommend coming right at opening time of the museum with an already purchased timed ticket (New Yorkers of course for free). It was a wonderful experience and I felt safe the entire time.

Comments (3)

  • Jean Goza

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    Oh Nat. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience. I did not know much about Alice Neel. Her painting style and how she captures so much expression and emotion is just incredible. I loved the article about Jeff Neal and how he finally got to see his portrait hanging in the museum. One of the other paintings that really stuck with me was “Black Draftee” (James Hunter). It does seem appropriate that Alice Neel considered it finished in this state. Your comment about the unfinished lives of black men in America is so spot on.
    Thanks again for sharing. I always learn so much on your art strolls.
    Good health to you…

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  • Sue Clarke

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    What an amazing collection. Every person’s face tells a story ( most serious at that). I love the Black Boys…yes, the boredom and discipline you noted Nat.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan

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    I cannot thank you enough for sharing so many images along with your thoughts from this amazing exhibition. I had read about it somewhere else and do not think I would be able to come to see it in person. Thank you again!

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