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Pictures of People
Alice Neel’s American Portrait Gallery
Pamela Allara

Available only as an ebook.

Brandeis University Press
1998 • 374 pp. 201 illus. (18 color). 6 x 9"
American Art / Biography / Women's Studies

$24.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-049-2

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

"A fine new biography . . . Allara's writing is as unflinching as Neel's portraiture."—Boston Globe

A vibrant chronicle of the life and work of a prolific painter and bohemian eccentric.

In this generously illustrated and vibrant chronicle of the life and work of prolific painter and bohemian eccentric Alice Neel, Pamela Allara shows how portraits from a career spanning the 1920s to the 1970s constitute a virtual gallery of American cultural history. While some of Neel's portraits graced the covers of publications like Ms. and Time, most of her subjects were unknowns -- the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the oppressed.

"Every person is a new universe unique with its own laws," Neel once said, but these arresting images of Greenwich Village intelligentsia, of Latinos and Latinas from Spanish Harlem, of gay and lesbian writers and artists, also evoke a profound, if disquieting, sense of time and place. Neel, informed by left-wing politics and avant-garde modernism, infused portraiture with a new energy and relevance, rescuing her sitters for history and rendering them witnesses to their time.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS


"Not since Patricia Hill's 1983 monograph on Neel . . . has there been so extensive and learned a treatise on the breadth and depth of this feminist artist's extraordinary body of work.”
Women's Review of Books

"An astute evaluation of the social context of Neel's work and her significance as an artist . . . An important contribution to art history, women's and gender studies, and to the general reader. It is a compelling story, a slice of history, and a tribute to an unconventional, daring and complex artist who told the truth in spite of the consequences."—Art New England

"The most valuable aspect of Allara's book is her ability to weave theoretical issues into the text as it follows a combination of chronology and theme. The result is a history of twentieth-century U.S. art from a new vantage point, that of a woman who consciously insisted on being an outsider in both her life choices and art style . . . Appropriately, for a book on an artist so involved with writers, Allara's text (even her layered and theoretically sophisticated analysis of the work), is also a pleasure to read."—Art Journal


The book is not only a study of Neel’s portraiture, but a social history of her time, and an exploration of the portrait genre with art historical breadth. Allara is a good scholar and poses important questions about the genre itself, at the same time that she writes for a general readership.—Dore Ashton

PAMELA ALLARA is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Fine Arts Department at Brandeis University. Author of exhibition catalogs and curator of exhibits on a variety of subjects, her articles have appeared in such publications as American Art, Art New England, and ARTnews.

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 16:01:58 -0500