Alice Neel

Andy Warhol
1970

Not on view

Dubbed by an art critic a "collector of souls," Alice Neel portrayed an extraordinary variety of sitters, from the anonymous to the highly recognizable, as in this portrait of the renowned Pop artist Andy Warhol. Here, Neel captures the vulnerability of an artist whose work and public persona were famous for their cool detachment. When in public, Warhol typically cloaked himself in a variety of guises—wigs, makeup, sunglasses, and a practiced air of disinterestedness. He once remarked, “Nudity is a threat to my existence.” Neel painted the Pop artist provocateur with his eyes closed and shirt removed, exposing his pale, scarred torso and the supportive corset he was forced to wear after being shot in 1968 by Valerie Solanas, a former member of his studio entourage. The canvas is limited to cool hues, such as a swatch of light blue surrounding Warhol’s head and upper body, whose fragile, androgynous contours are outlined in Neel’s signature aquamarine pigment. The background is spare, with only the outline of a couch, thereby emphasizing what she described as the picture’s "hypersensitive economy." Depicting Warhol as isolated, wounded, and withdrawn, Neel shows us an unexpected, and perhaps more profound, side of her fellow artist.

Artist
Alice Neel

Title
Andy Warhol

Date
1970

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Oil and acrylic on linen

Dimensions
Overall: 60 × 40 in. (152.4 × 101.6 cm)

Accession number
80.52

Credit line
Gift of Timothy Collins

Rights and reproductions information
© artist or artist’s estate



Audio

  • Human Interest

    Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, 1970

    613—Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, 1970

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