1970
August 15: Hartley Neel and Virginia (Ginny) Taylor are married at Ginny’s home in Sherman, Connecticut. Guests at the wedding include friends of Ginny’s family, former head of the NEA, Henry Allen Moe, and writer, Malcolm Cowley, both of whom, coincidentally, had written about Neel’s work in the 1930’s. Hartley and Ginny move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Hartley begins his three-year medical residency at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital.
John Rothschild moves into the guest room in Neel’s apartment, where he will live until his death in 1975.
August 31: Neel’s portrait of Kate Millett appears on the cover of Time magazine in an issue dedicated to ‘The Politics of Sex’. Rosemary Frank, the art editor of Time, periodically asks Neel to paint portraits of public figures (including Ted Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt) for possible inclusion in the magazine.
October: Paints Andy Warhol. Brigid Berlin photographs the sitting.
October 13-November 7: Has a solo exhibition at the Graham Gallery. Lawrence Campbell, in ArtNews (vol. 69), observes that ‘Miss Neel seems to detect a hidden weakness in her sitters which she drags out, yelping, into the clear glare of day.’
1971
January 15-February 19: Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, formerly the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, Neel’s alma mater, gives her a solo exhibition. Jackie Curtis and Ritta Redd, whose double portrait is included in the show, accompany her to the opening.
January 29: Participates in a panel of nineteen women who had taken over the floor to demand their own session at one of the weekly meetings of the Alliance of Figurative Artists in New York, which had a long tradition of having only male speakers.
February 25-March 21: Participates in the National Academy of Design’s 146th Annual Exhibition and receives the Benjamin Altman Figure Prize for $2,500.
February 28: Twin daughters, Alexandra and Antonia, are born to Richard and Nancy in New York.
May: Joins a demonstration against the Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America curated by Robert Doty. The exhibition is widely criticized by artists as being hastily organized and ill-conceived.
June 1: Receives an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Moore College of Art and Design.
September: Participates in a protest against the Museum of Modern Art organized by the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition and Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam. The protestors oppose Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s handling of the Attica prison riot and the museum bookstore’s refusal to sell their Attica Book (1971).
Winter: Neel’s doctoral address from Moore College is published in the journal Women and Art. The same issue announces the circulation of two petitions, one by the Alliance of Figurative Artists (initiated by Noah Baen) and the other by Women in the Arts (initiated by Cindy Nemser), demanding the inclusion of Neel’s work in the Whitney’s upcoming annual exhibition.
1972
January 25-March 19: Neel’s painting The Family (John Gruen, Jane Wilson, and Julia), 1970 is included in the Whitney’s annual exhibition.
April 20-22: Participates in the Conference of Women in the Visual Arts at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. At a panel discussion, Neel takes the opportunity to present a series of slides of her work. The format of the slide show would be repeated in the frequent lectures she will deliver over the course of the next decade.
June: Travels to Greece and Africa with Hartley and John Rothschild. In Nairobi they attend an exhibition of Neel’s work at the Paa Ya Paa Art Gallery and Studio, which was arranged by an African business associate of John Rothschild, Peter N. Kinuthia, whom Neel will paint the following year. While in Kenya, on June 19, Neel appears on the talk show MAMBO-LEO on national television.
Late Summer: Spends a week at the Skowhegan School in Maine as a visiting artist.
1973
February 15-March 13: John Perreault, art critic and instructor, organizes the exhibition The Male Nude at the School of Visual Arts Gallery in New York. Joe Gould, 1933, is included, as is John Perreault, 1972, which was painted for the exhibition.
Spring: Hartley finishes his residency and opens a private practice in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Hartley and Ginny move to Stowe, Vermont, where Neel will spend several weeks a year for the rest of her life.
Neel is awarded a $7,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Between 1973 and 1975 Neel will participate in at least eight exhibitions devoted to the work of women artists, organized by the Women’s Interart Center and Women in the Arts, among others.
1974
February 7-March 17: The Whitney Museum of American Art presents the first retrospective exhibition of Neel’s work, Alice Neel, curated by Elke Solomon. Fifty-eight paintings are included, and an eight-page brochure accompanies the exhibition. Although Neel’s admirers consider it an inadequate tribute, Neel herself views it as a triumph.
April 17: A daughter, Victoria, is born to Richard and Nancy in New York.
1975
January 23: A daughter, Elizabeth, is born to Hartley and Ginny in Stowe, Vermont.
Summer: Neel helps Hartley and Ginny renovate space on their property in rural Vermont to serve as Neel’s studio during her visits.
September 7-October 19: The Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia, presents Alice Neel: The Woman and Her Work, which includes eighty-three paintings and is accompanied by a catalogue. Neel has six other solo exhibitions this year and participates in sixteen group exhibitions.
An interview with Neel is included in Cindy Nemser’s book Art Talk: Conversations with 12 Women Artists (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1975).
November 2: Participates in a panel discussion at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York ‘Women Artists, Seventy Plus.’
1976
Neel is inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York (now the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters).
February 26: Receives the International Women’s Year Award (1975-76) ‘in recognition of outstanding cultural contributions and dedication to women and art.’
December: Neel’s T. B. Harlem, 1940, is included in the groundbreaking exhibition Women Artists, 1550-1950, organized by Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris, first presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
1977
Working with master printmaker Judith Solodkin, who is teaching at Rutgers University, Neel creates her first prints, a lithograph and an etching. The prints are published by 724 Prints, a company run by Dorothy Pearlstein and Nancy Melzer. She will produce four more lithographs with Solodkin over the next two years.
Among many other exhibitions this year, Neel participates in two shows focusing on WPA artists of the 1930s, one at the Parsons School of Design, New York, and the other a traveling exhibition organized by the Gallery Association of New York.
1978
May 18: A son, Andrew, is born to Hartley and Ginny in Stowe, Vermont.
November 1-25: Graham Gallery organizes Alice Neel: A Retrospective Exhibition of Watercolors and Drawings, the first show dedicated to her works on paper.
1979
January 30: Receives the National Women’s Caucus for Art award for outstanding achievement in the visual arts, along with Isabel Bishop, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O’Keefe. President Jimmy Carter presents the award.
An interview with Neel is included in Eleanor Munro’s book Originals: American Women Artists (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979).
47.jpg
Andy Warhol sitting for Neel’s portrait. Photo by Brigid Berlin 1970
48.jpg
Neel with Rita Redd (left) and Jackie Curtis (center) at the opening of Neel’s solo exhibition at Moore College 1971
44.jpg
Neel in Greece 1972
49.jpg
Neel at Hartley’s house in Vermont after 1973
50.jpg
Neel at Whitney opening, 1974
51.jpg
Neel in her studio in Vermont after 1975
53.jpg
Panelists at Brooklyn Museum for Curators, Critics and the Economics of the Woman Artist and Women Artists, Seventy Plus. Pictured left to right, top row: Lilly Brody, Susan Martin, Isabel Bishop, Alice Neel, Lil Picard, Judith Von Baron, Lois Mailou Jones, Janet Schneider, Sari Dienes. Bottom row: Patricia Mainardi, June Blum. Photo by Maurice C. Blum
42.jpg
Neel painting Stephen Shepherd in the front room of her apartment at 300 West 107th Street 1978
54.jpg
Neel, Selma Burke and Isabel Bishop with President Jimmy Carter at the first National Women’s Caucus for Art award in 1979
55.jpg
Neel and Louise Nevelson at the awards ceremony for the above award, January 30, 1979. Photo by Gina Shamus