This painting, Side of Building (1965), was made by Alice Neel in her Upper West Side apartment, looking through her window and across the street at the building opposite. Painted on a brilliant, sunny day, the work offers a sumptuous palette of beige and pink on the facade of the building. The windows, with curtains, shades and shutters drawn to protect their occupants from the glare, take on distinct individual personalities, and at the lower left, we see the shadow of Neel's own building.
As with Alice Neel’s most poignant paintings, Blue House from 1963 captures an unexpected window into the artist’s intimate memories of time spent summering outside of Manhattan, which magnetically invites each viewer to step into her deeply personal world. In the present work, Neel swaps the bustling sidewalks, towering architecture and compressed urban spaces of Manhattan for the brilliant open skies, brightly painted summer homes and lush landscapes dappled with dancing afternoon shadows.
Side of Building will be offered in the Contemporary Evening Auction on 16 November at Sotheby’s New York. Blue House will be offered in the Contemporary Day Auction on 17 November at Sotheby’s New York.