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Tuesday, 14 October 2014 11:02

Alice Neel Exhibition Opens in London

Alice Neel's 'Hartley with a Cat,' 1969. Alice Neel's 'Hartley with a Cat,' 1969. Victoria Miro, London

At first glance the painting appears to show a modern-day Madonna and Child. The Madonna, wearing jeans, is sitting on a sun-dappled floor while the baby – a girl, surely – nestles between her mother’s protective legs. All seems calm and serene, until you notice the woman’s body language. Her shoulders are tense, her torso slumped, and she is staring not at her child but blankly at the floor. If this is what motherhood looks like then it is clearly not for the faint-hearted.

"Ginny and Elizabeth" was painted in 1976 by the American artist Alice Neel and modeled by her daughter-in-law and baby granddaughter. At the time Neel started work on the piece, she was finally receiving public acclaim for her work after decades of obscurity.

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