NEW YORK, NY.- The Cleveland Museum of Art
(CMA) today announced the acquisition of "Jackie Curtis and Rita Red" (Oil on canvas, 1970) by Alice Neel (American, 1900-1984). Purchased from the collection of Mary Schiller Myers and Louis S. Myers at Sothebys in New York on November 11, "Jackie Curtis and Rita Red" is widely recognized as a superb example of Neels work during the most fertile years of her career as well as one of her most moving pieces. CMA temporarily borrowed "Jackie Curtis and Rita Red" from the Myers for the inaugural opening of the East Wing this past summer in order to more fully represent the work of Neel and women artists of the 20th-century among the museums contemporary collection.
I am sure many will be eager to see "Jackie Curtis and Rita Red" return to the newly opened East Wing galleries, said Deborah Gribbon, interim director of CMA. This purchase underscores the CMAs focus on the continued development of our collection, always considered as one of the finest in this country, and specifically our dedication to acquiring the art of our time.
Neel was a pioneering woman artist and one of the great portrait painters of the 20th-century. Neels work conveys a distinguished personal vision, which she forged in the crucible of the social experiences and cultural avant-garde of New York City. Throughout the years during which Modernism and art-for-arts sake dominated debates about art, she championed an approach to painting that was rooted in human relationships. Neels work was fueled by her desire to draw attention to the lives of those whose contribution to society she viewed as unrecognized. Neels work has had a pervasive influence on artists of successive generations, including Chuck Close and Keith Mayerson.
This painting offers a significant parallel to the museums painting "Marilyn x 100" by Andy Warhol, resonates strongly with earlier figurative works and portraiture represented in the collection, and further strengthens the museums representation of work by women artists.