“I really live out my front room windows, . . . It’s like having a street in your living room . . . Since I’ve always been claustrophobic, it is a great escape for me not to feel shut up in a room”
Alice Neel: The New York I Love: Seventeen New Yorkers Tell Us What Makes Them Most Love This Big, Bad, Beautiful Town, 1980
In her cityscapes, the artist bears witness to the everyday beauty of New York’s buildings and parks; she merges nature and the surrounding constructions to create an artful whole. Neel did not seek to reflect the spectacular nature of the city’s colossal and iconic architecture, the pride of the time, but once again focused on the less advantaged: the more approachable or everyday public buildings or spaces. Neel presents the city in which she lives and its inhabitants, who appear either directly or indirectly, through details like almost phantasmagorical figures, drawn curtains, or a night-time scene painted from inside her house, where the neighboring facades can be glimpsed through the window. The city and its peoples wander in and out of Neel’s pictorial and personal space.