GEORGE MCNEIL

1908-1995

 

Biography

 

George McNeil was one of the most important and influential New York School artists and teachers of his generation. There is no period during his six-decade long career in which his work is not highly regarded. McNeil’s work has been prominently and widely exhibited ever since his debut as one of only five non-objective painters in the New York World’s Fair Show of 1939. Today, his work can be found in such important collections as: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, to name a few.

Looking back on his lengthy career, McNeil must be considered one of the preeminent American expressionist painters of the 20th Century. His work evolved successfully from the post cubist abstract expressionism of his Hofmann School days, through the figurative expressionism of his mid-career during the 1960’s and 1970’s, to emerge as full-blown neo-expressionism in the 1980’s and 1990’s. With “avant-gardism” as his watchword McNeil was always at the forefront of the American expressionist movement. His extraordinary body of work pays tribute to his enormous talent and his uncompromising commitment to artistic growth.

 

In a statement prepared for a solo exhibition of his work at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1985 McNeil commented, “I have been told that my abstract landscapes and my beat up figures make me a part of the New Expressionist movement. This disconcerts me because I have been an old expressionist for so long that it isn’t funny. I am like Moliere’s Monsieur Jourdain who was surprised to learn he had been speaking prose all his life.”

 

Selected Public Collections

Alcoa Collection of Modern Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Massachusetts.

Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York.

Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio.

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

DuPont Gallery, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.

Exxon Corporation, New York City.

Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockport, Maine.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England.

Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York.

Huntington Art Gallery, James Michener Collection, University of Texas, Austin, Texas.

Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, New York.

Kresge Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan.

Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

University of Michigan Art Museum, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California.

Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Neuberger Museum, State University of New York at Purchase, New York.

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey.

North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Northern Michigan University Art Museum, Marquette, Michigan.

Oklahoma City Art Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Palm Spring Desert Museum, Palm Springs California.

Phillip Morris Corporation, New York.

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Smithsonian Institute Print Collection, Washington D.C.

Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri.

University of Michigan Art Museum, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Weatherspoon Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.

Worcester Art Museum, Worcestor, Massachusetts.

Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Ford Foundation Purchase Award, 1963.

National Council on the Arts Awards, 1967.

Guggenheim Fellow, 1969.

Tamarind Institute, Artist-in-Residence 1971, 1975, 1976, 1984.

American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1982; elected member 1989.

Avery Chairperson, Edith C. Blum Art Institute, The Bard College Center, 1985.

Honorary Doctor of Fine Art, Pratt Institute, 1985.

Honorary Doctor of Fine Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, 1998.

 

 

 

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