Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Meyer Schapiro Portraits by Alice Neel

Artist Alice Neel painted portraits of Meyer Schapiro twice in his life, once in 1947 and the other in 1983. Known for her expressionistic renderings of her subjects, Neel's portraits sustain a deep gravitas towards the subject depicted. The portraits can be viewed on Alice Neel's website.

Neel's 1983 portrait of Schapiro is part of The Jewish Museum collection in New York City. More information on that portrait can be found here.

Schapiro was an adviser and trustee of The Jewish Museum for 50 years, and, according to their website, "Schapiro encouraged the museum to present cuffing-edge contemporary art. To expose the reciprocal relationship of old and new, to recognize in ancient ceremonial art the dynamic force of spiritual expressionism, and to read in the avant-garde new utterances of traditional values and ideas: this was the gauntlet that Schapiro threw down in the late 1940s. In its collections and programs, The Jewish Museum continues to embrace the challenge of Meyer Schapiro's dynamic dialectical approach."

Incidentally, the Schapiro Collection includes a treasure trove of art works by Meyer Schapiro, including many self-portraits created while he was a student. Schapiro was a practicing artist his whole life. A publication, Meyer Schapiro: His Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture, chronicles his artistic output. This image from the archive is a self-portrait Meyer created in the 1920s.

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