- Art, Birthday, Nonfiction

Alice Neel on Art, Freedom, Chekhov, and More

Happy birthday, Alice Neel! Here are some quotes from and paintings by this extraordinary artist:

“Art is two things: a search for a road and a search for freedom. it’s very hard to get freedom. you know all these things in life keep crawling over you all the time, so it’s very hard to feel free.”

Andy Warhol, 1970

“You know it’s very hard to maintain a theory in the face of life that comes crashing about you.”

Mother and Child (Nancy and Olivia), 1967

“You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is…unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far.”

Two Puerto Rican Boys, 1956

“Nobody knows what makes good art. As an artist, when it happens, you’re grateful, and then you get on with it.”

Linda Nochlin and Daisy, 1973

“I thought you had to give up a lot for art, and you did. It required complete concentration. It also required that whatever money you had had to be put into art materials.”

Hartley, 1965

“The place where I had freedom most was when I painted. I was completely and utterly myself.”

Self Portrait, 1980

“Like Chekhov, I am a collector of souls…if I hadn’t been an artist, I could have been a psychiatrist.”

Nancy Selvage, 1967


“Whether I’m painting or not, I have this overweening interest in humanity. Even if I’m not working, I’m still analyzing people.”

The Soyer Brothers, 1973

“When I was in my studio I didn’t give a damn what sex I was…I thought art is art.”

Last Sickness, 1953


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