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Frank O'Hara

Artist
Alice Neel, 28 Jan 1900 - 13 Oct 1984
Sitter
Frank O'Hara, 27 Jun 1926 - 25 Jul 1966
Date
1960
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Other: 85.7 x 40.6 x 2.5cm (33 3/4 x 16 x 1")
Frame: 107.3 x 62.9 x 5.7cm (42 1/4 x 24 3/4 x 2 1/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Hartley S. Neel
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Alice Neel
Object number
NPG.96.128
Exhibition Label
One of the most important poets of postwar America, Frank O'Hara was a leader in making American verse more intimate and personal. His style was direct and immediate, and his topics were generated from his day-to-day encounters with people and places. (O'Hara was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art and wrote poetry during his lunch hour.) His relaxed, humorous, and offhand style hid the deep seriousness with which he took his art and his subjects. His irony was instead a defensive mechanism, a tendency toward obliqueness that provided cover in a society that was threatening to gay men. O'Hara also kept much of his life hidden from his closest friends, while at the same time he allowed himself to become the subject of many of America's leading artists. The American realist Alice Neel captured O'Hara's distinctive profile, which she described as "a romantic falconlike profile with a bunch of lilacs."
Provenance
Hartley S. Neel, Stowe, Vt., son of artist; gift 1996 to NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York