Feature

Where to buy ... Alice Neel

Alice Neel sprang to fame in the early 1970s, but she began by painting portraits in Greenwich Village in the 1930s.

Alice Neel: Nudes of the 1930sZwirner & Wirth, New York

Alice Neel: Selected WorkDavid Zwirner, New York

Alice Neel sprang to fame in the early 1970s, when portraits of figures like Congresswoman Bella Abzug made her seem part of the first wave of feminist artists. In fact, she was simply doing what she’d done for decades: documenting the people of her time. She began by capturing figures of 1930s bohemia in Greenwich Village, and fleshy nudes from this era introduce her distinctive expressionist style. Later works show how her style developed, from dark, claustrophobic interiors during the war years to the slightly off-kilter family portraits, from the early 1960s, whose green and yellow flesh tones suggest a barely domesticated version of Edvard Munch. In particular, her remarkable portraits of children capture a creepy precociousness that seems true to life.

Zwirner & Wirth: 32 E. 69th St., (212) 517-8677. David Zwirner: 533 W. 19th St., (212) 727-2070. Both shows through June 20. Prices range from $120,000 to $750,000.

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