Alice Neel, one of the great portraitists of the 20th century, made starkly honest paintings of relatives, lovers, friends, and neighbors.
“Whether I'm painting or not, I have this overwhelming interest in humanity,” she explained. “Even if I'm not working, I'm still analyzing people.”
In 2007 Andrew Neel, Alice Neel's grandson, directed a documentary about Alice Neel's life. It explores her struggles as an artist and a single mother from the Depression era until her death in 1984. The film includes interviews with her sons, Richard and Hartley Neel, the children of her deceased daughter, Isabetta, artists Marlene Dumas, Chuck Close and Alex Katz, art historians Rob Storr and Jeremy Lewison, and Neel's surviving friends. It also includes footage from Michel Auder's earlier film about Neel. The film, which was produced by SeeThink Productions, won the Audience Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2007.
In 1984, Neel died in New York, at 84 years of age. Her work has been celebrated in retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among other institutions.