Alice Neel (American, 1900-1984)
oil on canvas, Framed - h:154.30 w:108.90 cm (h:60 11/16 w:42 13/16 inches)
Unframed - h:152.40 w:106.40 cm (h:60 w:41 7/8 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2009.345
Though Alice Neel’s work consisted mostly of portraiture, there is a distinctly abstract quality in her paintings due to her use of simplified forms and perspective distortion. An early example of her portraits of gay couples, Jackie Curtis and Ritta Redd portrays two regulars from Andy Warhol’s Factory. Jackie Curtis was an actor, playwright, and poet who appeared in Warhol’s films Flesh and Women in Revolt. Neel plays with expectations of gender through the figures’ postures and dress, which work against typical ideas of masculinity and femininity. The figure on the left is Ritta, not Jackie, as would be expected from the title. Neel appropriately remarked that when "portraits are good art they reflect the culture, the time and many other things."