Sunday, April 25, 2010

Collector of souls

Like Chekhov, I am a collector of souls... if I hadn't been an artist,
I could have been a psychiatrist. --Alice Neel

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is honoring the incomparable Alice Neel with a retrospective exhibition of 68 of her fine paintings (through June 13). Oh, to be in Houston, Texas.

In 2000, I saw an incredible exhibition of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in in New York City. There were a few paintings of interiors and still life, but her portraits, for which she is known, were pulsing with vibrancy. It was clear that she connected with her subjects; she captured their likeness, but also their psychological spirit. Her portraits leave a brilliant impression; it's as if you just met a fascinating person and your life is changed in subtle and surprising ways.

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