Alice Neel's Brothers Karamazov

Alice Neel, Untitled (Katerina’s Testimony), ca. 1938, 14 1/4 x 10 inches (© The
Alice Neel, Untitled (Katerina’s Testimony), ca. 1938, 14 1/4 x 10 inches (© The Estate of Alice Neel, courtesy David Zwirner Gallery)

Dan Piepenbring blogs about Alice Neel's illustrations for Fyodor Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, on view in Alice Neel: Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978 at David Zwirner Gallery, New York through April 18, 2015.

Piepenbring writes: "In the thirties, Neel made a series of illustrations for an edition of The Brothers Karamazov that apparently never came to fruition. It’s not clear if the publishers rejected her work or if the whole project fell through, but in either case, damn. The eight illustrations demonstrate how attuned these two sensibilities are: it’s the marriage of one kind of darkness to another. Compare them to, say, William Sharp’s Brothers K illustrations and the difference, the change in register, is immediate—the black storm cloud of Neel’s pen is well suited to Dostoyevsky’s questions of God, reason, and doubt."