Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty


Product Details

$35.00  $32.55
David Zwirner Books
Publish Date
5.1 X 7.8 X 1.6 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Phoebe Hoban is a New York-based journalist who has covered art and culture for a number of major publications, including The New York Times, New York magazine, The New York Observer, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and ARTnews, among others. Her biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art (1998) was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her biography of Alice Neel, Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty (2010), was named one of the Best Books of the Year by New York magazine, one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Village Voice, and one of the Ten Best Biographies of the Year by Booklist. Her most recent biography, Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open (2014), was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Pick.

Alice Neel was born in 1900 in Merion Square, Pennsylvania, and died in 1984 in New York. With a practice spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s, Neel is widely regarded as one of the foremost American painters of the twentieth century. Based in New York, Neel selected her sitters from among her family members, friends, neighbors, and a variety of New Yorkers, and her eccentric portraits are thus a portrayal of, and dialogue with, the city in which she lived. Although she showed sporadically early in her career, from the 1960s onward her work was exhibited widely in the United States. In 1974, she had her first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


"Neel emerges as a resolute survivor who lived by her convictions, both aesthetically and politically."-- "Publisher's Weekly"
"I highly recommend Phoebe Hoban's biography of Alice Neel, a riveting portrait of one of twentieth-century America's most significant women artists, whose recognition late in life came on the heels of tragedy and mental illness, through an unwavering--even pigheaded--determination. It makes for gripping, and sobering, reading."--Claire Messud "New York magazine"
"Neel was not a postmodernist. Her art was direct and unfiltered, unmediated by the effects of the media. The surprising part is that today it feels utterly up to the minute, perhaps because it bares its anxiety about whether it could be done at all."--Deborah Solomon "The New York Times"
"In this lively and superbly detailed biography, the first comprehensive exploration of Neel, Hoban examines the complicated life of the free-spirited, iconoclastic protofeminist painter, best known as a portraitist, who was also a card-carrying Communist and a scandalous sensualist."--Lilly Wei "ARTnews"
"Having gained access to heretofore private and stunningly illuminating materials, Hoban is commanding and entrancing as she chronicles Neel's contrary temperament and tempestuous life.... Judicious and ardent, Hoban has created a galvanizing portrait of a 'rebel artist' who remained true to her humanist convictions."--Donna Seaman "Booklist (starred review)"