Currents Winter 2018; Vol. 34, No. 1 - Page 18

AWCH Members and Events American Women’s Club of Hamburg Big News, Art News —Members initiate new Art Group AWCH has a newly formed Art Group. Shelly Schoeneshoefer and Diana Perry Schnelle have or- ganized a group that will see different art exhibi- tions around Hamburg. Members are also welcome to share their own artwork with the group or sug- gest other interesting ideas. Our first event included sixteen people: women, men and two babies. To- gether we visited Alice Neel: Painter of Modern Life, a retrospective of the American artist’s paintings at the Deichtorhallen—the first time such a show has been exhibited in Germany. An extremely informa- tive guided tour in English took us to the exhibition highlights. Alice Neel was born in 1900 and lived until 1984; but during most of her life, her work wasn’t taken seriously. She is now considered to be one of the most important portrait and figurative painters of the twentieth century. Living in Spanish Harlem and painting people who lived on the margins of society, Neel was up against the male abstract paint- ers who dominated the New York and American art scene. She rarely sold any of her work, but at the age of 74 had her first retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Update: Anita Ree in January The newly formed Art Group made a spontaneous trip to the Kunsthalle in January to see the artist Anita Ree. The idea was to compare her work with that of Alice Neel. This must be the year of the wom- an! These two retrospectives show the emotional and creative strength of two women artists dur- ing hard political times. Working on two different 18 To augment the exhibition, many of the club mem- bers viewed a documentary film about Neel at the Abaton Kino. Directed by her grandson Andrew Neel, Alice Neel presents an intimate view of how hard it was for Neel’s sons to be raised by a person who devoted her life to art. If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Shelly and Diane at continents and coming from different backgrounds, both struggled for recognition of their talent and produced an amazing portfolio.�������������������  T����������������� heir strong ambi- tion to become artists shines through their artwork even today.  Both women painted emotional portraits of the people around them. Both experienced psychologi- cal trauma and suffered from being outsiders. But whereas Anita was stylistically greatly influenced by her colleagues, Alice Neel’s works radiate her own style. Neel chose to live in Spanish Harlem, par- tially due to financial reasons but also to be closer to real life, and thus was more isolated from her peers. Life as a single mother was hard and not easy to balance with her Communistic Bohemian lifestyle. In contrast, Anita Ree’s life was a clouded landscape full of questions. She was caught between differ- ent worlds, both political and religious, and was always asking herself “Who am I?” Although she was raised Lutheran, her father was Jewish and her mother was Catholic. This led to dangerous waters during the Nazi regime; her artwork was declared “Degenerative Art”, hindering her success in the art