Alice Neel

THUS THE WHITNEY, which can usually be counted on to do the wrong thing, devoted a solo exhibition to Alice Neel whose paintings (we can be reasonably certain) would never have been accorded that honor had they been produced by a man.”

Shall we play name that critic? Hint: His vehicle—surprise! it's a he—was the New York Times, which published this assessment in. . .1977, three years after a single-floor show of Neel's work opened at the Whitney. By contrast, Lawrence Alloway, writing in The Nation in 1974, took the Whitney to task for its belatedness: Neel, who was born outside Philadelphia in 1900, was seventy-four at the time of this, her first solo museum outing. To many who knew her work from gallery shows, the tardiness was puzzling; in the late '60s, museums had begun to award full-career retrospectives to those at the early middle, not just the end, of their artistic

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