1930
May 1: Enríquez leaves for Cuba with Isabetta. He plans to leave Isabetta with his parents and travel with Neel to Paris. After his departure, Neel sublets her apartment in New York and goes back to her parents’ house in Colwyn. She travels every day to Philadelphia, where she works at the Washington Square studio of friends from art school, Ethel Ashton and Rhoda Meyers.
July: Enríquez, finding there is not enough money for two to travel, goes on to Paris without Neel, and leaves Isabetta in Cuba in the care of his two sisters.
Neel spends a summer of exhaustingly intense painting.
August 15: Neel returns to Colwyn from a day of painting at Meyers and Ashton’s studio and suffers a nervous breakdown. She later recalls experiencing a ‘chill that lasted at least eight hours’ (Hills, Alice Neel, p. 32). She remains at home under the care of her mother.
In an undated handwritten text from this time (Neel Archives) she writes: ‘Carlos went away. The nights were horrible at first ... I dreamed Isabetta died and we buried her right beside Santillana.’
October: Neel is hospitalized at Orthopedic Hospital in Philadelphia, where she stays through Christmas of that year.

1931
January: Enríquez returns to the United States. He visits Neel a few times in the hospital and takes her home to Colwyn where her family can look after her. Shortly after Neel is back home, she attempts suicide by turning on the gas oven in her parents’ kitchen. She is hospitalized at Wilmington Hospital in Delaware. After a few days she is returned to Orthopedic Hospital in Philadelphia, where she smashes a glass with the intention of swallowing the shards; attendants are able to prevent her from harming herself. She is sent to the suicidal ward at Philadelphia General Hospital the following day, where she stays through Easter.At some point during this time, Enríquez returns to Paris.
Late Spring: A social worker recommends Neel’s transfer to the suicidal ward of Gladwyne Colony, a private sanatorium in Gladwyne (a suburb of Philadelphia), directed by Dr. Seymour DeWitt Ludlum, chief of staff of the Neuropsychiatric Department at Philadelphia General Hospital. After a period of time there, she is allowed to leave the
suicidal ward and live with the other patients in the main house. She is encouraged to continue drawing and painting, in contrast with the conventional treatment of nervous conditions at this time, which prescribes that a patient cease all activities related to professional life.
Summer: Enríquez travels from Paris to Spain, according to letters written to Neel at Gladwyne Colony. He expresses concern for her condition and says that Fanya Foss has sent news of her.
September: Neel is discharged from Ludlum’s sanatorium and returns to Colwyn. She visits Nadya Olyanova and her Norwegian husband, Egil Hoye, a sailor in the merchant marine. Olyanova and Hoye live in Stockton, New Jersey.
 There she meets Kenneth Doolittle, also an able-bodied seaman and a close friend of the couple.

1932
Early in the year, moves with Kenneth Doolittle to 33 ? Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village.
May 28-June 5: Participates in the First Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, showing Well Baby Clinic, among other paintings. She is forced to withdraw Degenerate Madonna following protests by the Catholic Church.
At the exhibition she meets John Rothschild (1900-1975), a Harvard graduate from a wealthy family who runs a travel business. Their friendship will last throughout their lives.
June 5: The New York Times Magazine, in an article titled ‘Open-Air Art Shows Gaining Favor’, reports:
New York has just had its first open-air art show, staged in Washington Square by the artists of Greenwich Village. New to us, these outdoor exhibits are familiar sights in several European cities, and in Philadelphia. Hard times have hit the artists of the Village; the outdoor sale was held to help them market their wares and perhaps to gain recognition for their talents.
November 12-20: Participates in the Second Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, which includes the work of about three hundred artists. Juliana Force, who endorsed the exhibits, calls a meeting on November 20 with the artists: ‘Mrs. Juliana Force, Director of The Whitney Museum of American Art, invites you to tea at The Jumble Shop, 11 Waverly Place, on Sunday, ... for a round table discussion concerning the problems of the winter’ (Washington Square Outdoor Exhibition records, 1932-1957, Archives of American Art).
1933
January: Participates with Joseph Solman in an exhibition at the International Book and Art Shop on West Eighth Street. Solman will be a founding member of the abstract art group The Ten and will include Neel in a number of group shows over the years.
March 16-April 4: Exhibits in Living Art: American, French, German, Italian, Mexican, and Russian Artists at the Mellon Galleries in Philadelphia, organized by J. B. Neumann. Two of her paintings are mentioned in the review in the Philadelphia Inquirer (March 19): ‘Among the Americans there is a one-time Philadelphian, Alice Neel, whose “Red Houses” and “Snow” reveal the possession of interpretive gifts out of the ordinary. There is nothing “pretty” about these pictures, but they have substance and honesty.’
March and October: Participates in two exhibitions and art sales for needy New York artists organized by the Artists’ Aid Committee, which is headed by Vernon C. Porter, chairman of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibits.
December 26: Enrolls in the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a government-funded program run under the auspices of the Whitney Museum of American Art and its director Juliana Force, aided by Vernon C. Porter. She later recalls (New York City WPA Art: Then and Now, New York: NYC WPA Artists, 1977, p. 66):
The first I heard of the W.P.A. was when in 1933 I received a letter from the Whitney Museum asking me to come and see them. I was interviewed by a young man who asked me ‘How would you like to paint for $30 a week?’ This was fabulous as most of the artists had nothing in those days and in fact there were free lunches for artists in the Village ... All the artists were on the project. If there had been no such cultural projects there might well have been a revolution.
Paints Joe Gould, a well-known Greenwich Village bohemian who claims to be writing ‘An Oral History of Our Time’.
1934
January: Enríquez returns to Cuba from Spain following the death of his mother. He writes to Neel expressing a desire to get back together. She, however, is entangled with Kenneth Doolittle, and being pursued by John Rothschild. It is too much for her. Although she and Carlos never obtain a divorce or annulment, they never meet again.
April 17: Neel is separated from the PWAP payroll. According to an internal memo, on February 12 she had delivered a painting ‘of good artistic merit but so inappropriate that it was considered useless.’ She was given a new assignment to paint a picture showing ‘one of the phases of New York City life.’ On April 15 she was asked to bring the picture to the office and appeared the following day without it, saying her original painting had turned out so badly that she had scraped it off the canvas and had begun again. She delivered this painting on April 17, and ‘the opinion of those who viewed it was that it had been painted the night before on a brand new canvas and that it did not represent more than one day’s work, although she claimed to have been working on this picture two months.’
Summer: Rents a house with her mother on the New Jersey shore, in Belmar, New Jersey. Her mother and father come to spend the summer with her. Isabetta, now almost six years old, comes from Cuba to visit her.
It is here that she paints a nude portrait of Isabetta.
September 30: Neel is entered on the payroll of the Works Progress Administration (WPA; later the Work Projects Administration), which replaced PWAP, at $103.40 per month, in its easel division.
December: Kenneth Doolittle, in a rage, burns more than three hundred of Neel’s drawings and watercolors and slashes more than fifty oil paintings at their apartment on Cornelia Street. Neel’s painting of Isabetta is slashed beyond repair. Neel later repaints a new image in the same pose. (Note burned photographs above)
Neel moves out and stays with John Rothschild, first at a hotel on West 42nd Street and then at 14 East 60th Street.        
With some help from Rothschild and her parents, Neel buys a modest cottage in Spring Lake, New Jersey, at 506 Monmouth Avenue, four blocks from the beach.
Although she will later in life sell this house and buy a larger house, Spring Lake will be where she spends part of each summer for the rest of her life.
Rothschild has decided to leave his wife and children, the subject of a number of Neel’s paintings. He wants to live with Neel, but she is ambivalent about it. She decides to get an apartment for herself, and moves to 347 1/2 West 17th Street, New York.
About this time, she meets Jose Santiago Negron, a nightclub singer.
Negron leaves his wife and infant child, Sheila, and moves in with Neel. Sheila is the subject of at least three of Neel’s paintings.
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Isabetta in Cuba with Carlos’s family, Adolfina, Tio and Adoris c.1930
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Alice Neel: Suicidal Ward, Philadelphia General Hospital, 1931, pencil on paper, 17 x 22 inches.
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Nadya Olyanova and Egil Hoye c.1931
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Neel and Doolittle c.1932
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John Rothschild c.1940
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Painting c.1933 by Alice Neel of the kind submitted to the WPA
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Isabetta on boardwalk in New Jersey1934
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Neel and Doolittle with the painting of Isabetta 1934
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Neel’s original painting of Isabetta 1934, subsequently destroyed
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Neel’s parents in front of the cottage in Spring Lake, N.J. c.1934
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Jose Santiago Negron far left with his Salsa Band c.1935