Thursday, February 02, 2006
at the National Museum of Women in the Arts
In the current exhibition "Alice Neel's Women" there is the artist's portrait of me done in my studio in 1944. At the opening of the show, on October 26th I was happy to tell to the filmmaker doing a documentary of Alice Neel's life and art, about the circumstances of this portrait. I have told about this when the portrait was shown at the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia last year. And I am so happy that I could say again how my early study of Aesthetic Realism affected our conversation and this painting.
I told about how I was beginning to learn from Mr. Siegel about the opposites in painting, and in a person. As I looked at the painting again, I saw more how that conversation got into the work; it is in the way Alice Neel showed me as a painter too.
The exhibition will continue until January 14th, and I hope other people will be moved as I was by the depth of seeing that comes through as one goes from one portrait to another. Alice Neel wanted to know women. What I was learning from Mr. Siegel affected Alice. It is, I think, in the way the light is in the painting, and in the way the leaves curl up the stretchers, on the back of the canvas. What is hidden and what is shown change places--there is an action here that is like conversation--as I see it. To the question I love so much, "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?" I think this painting is an early answer: Yes.