Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty” as Want to Read:
Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  123 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Alice Neel liked to say that she was the century and in many ways she was. She was born into a proper Victorian family, and came of age during suffrage. The quintessential Bohemian, she spent more than half a century, from her early days as a WPA artist living in the heart of the Village, through her Whitney retrospective in 1974, until her death ten years later, painting, ...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by St. Martin's Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Alice Neel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Alice Neel

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 07, 2012 Marcia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Neel was a complex person and an important American painter. I learned alot about her from his book, but there were too many lists of works in various exhibits and reviews....those details detracted from the flow of the book and could have easily been included in notes or an appendix. This did not compare to he quality of writing in recent biographies of Jackson Pollack, Willem deKooning an Lee bad, because her life was equally remarkable.
Jonathan Lopez
Jul 16, 2010 Jonathan Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Neel enjoyed the greatest second act in the history of American art. Her paintings of New York bohemian life earned high praise, especially from leftist critics, during the Great Depression, but she fell into near-total obscurity with the rise of Abstract Expressionism after World War II. Undaunted, she persevered as a painter of the human form, cultivating an idiosyncratic style that combined bright colors with springy, caricature-like drawing in psychologically-rich oil portraits of art- ...more
Sep 09, 2012 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good beginning and middle, but less interesting at the end, when it more or less was a list of all her gallery shows.
Feb 02, 2013 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Old story...great painter...despicable person.
Mar 11, 2011 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Neel is a great painter. Her portraits are original and she seems to be driven to paint no matter what the circumstances are. Her life itself is tragic. Hoban's biography is very clear in juxtaposing Alice's life with her work. I have not read any of the other literature on Alice, so I do not know if Hoban reveals anything new about Alice or if she stays true to the accepted facts. I would read this book only if you are interested in the artist.

The number of illustrations in this book is
Apr 05, 2013 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This biography gets bogged down by the portraits of all the people in Neel’s life and feels like it focuses too little on her art (perhaps there is not that much to say about it?). I also wanted more social history, more art history, and there is certainly some of that, but maybe because Neel was so out of the mainstream, it’s hard to integrate more of that sort of thing. The book seems too rambling and repetitive for my tastes.
Apr 28, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hoban's writing isn't that fluid or compelling, so this wasn't the most pleasant read. I read the book chiefly because I knew Neel had an extraordinary life for a woman artist in her day. Neel didn't find acclaim or financial stability until she was fairly old. Most interesting was how much Neel didn't care about what other people, including her own daughter, thought of her until later in life. She just lived to do her art and other matters, including family, were damned.
So far, not impressed w/ the writing. Neel's story is a fascinating one, so it's unfortunate that the telling of it makes it seem just the opposite. I'm sticking with it for now, b/c Alice Neel is one of my very favorite painters, but I can't say I'll make it all the way through...
Jan 16, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hard-wired for honesty and independence, Neel seemed to paint people from the inside out, capturing their souls like no other portraitist. Her lifestyle and choices could horrify, but her curiosity about human beings redeemed her. This bio does a great job capturing this paradox.
Jul 13, 2013 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not one of the better written biographies I have read, but what a life Alice Neel had. I was especially interested in her political activism, and here Phoebe Hoban is strong, giving a lot of context.
Jan 31, 2016 Irwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely readable biography, shorter than normal chapters for non fiction were a plus, as was the authors style. I plan on reading her Basquiat biography as well.
Herman Plasmans
It seemed interesting but it was boring
Dec 27, 2011 Ron marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just bought this book and will begin reading soon. I am reading reviews of the read currently.
May 30, 2011 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would be very interested in reading about Alice Neel; but this book was so boring and poorly written that I returned it to the library
without finishing it.
Dec 15, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a channukah gift from, as we say in italian, "mi boo."
Jun 05, 2011 Adrienne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The artist is interesting but the book itself was not well written. It seemed disorganized and repetitive.
Jcken rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2015
Paige rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2014
Barry rated it liked it
Apr 20, 2011
Martha rated it it was ok
Dec 31, 2010
Zachary Harless
Zachary Harless rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2015
Paige Patterson
Paige Patterson rated it it was amazing
Oct 04, 2016
Aaron rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2015
Katy rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2011
Marianne rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2014
Glo Sollecito
Glo Sollecito rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2011
Valerie rated it it was ok
Jun 07, 2011
Maisie Ogata
Maisie Ogata rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2017
Mary Ahern
Mary Ahern rated it liked it
Feb 26, 2012
Brianna Meister
Brianna Meister rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter
  • Lee Krasner: A Biography
  • Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli
  • Mark Rothko: A Biography
  • A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years: 1917-1932 (Vol 3)
  • Jackson Pollock: An American Saga
  • The Life of Langston Hughes
  • Matisse the Master: The Conquest of Colour, 1909-1954
  • De Kooning: An American Master
  • Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist
  • Tamara De Lempicka: A Life of Deco and Decadence
  • Mapplethorpe
  • A Taste for Intrigue: The Multiple Lives of François Mitterrand
  • Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr
  • Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg
  • Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim
  • Picasso: Creator And Destroyer
  • Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits

Share This Book