the artist

Edith Neff

Photo Credit: Terry Hourigan

Edith Neff

Philadelphia, PA

Edith Neff

Said best and quoted directly from Edith Neff herself:

Photographs are (her) way of getting information.  With a camera, (she) can catch a specific moment and a specific thing.

Philadelphia artist Edith Neff preferred to paint mostly outdoor scenes and settings – due to the fact that both the light and the subjects/objects themselves vary more – which contribute a greater, deeper meaning and a mysterious manner. 

Space was important to Neff as she wanted her viewers to feel as if they could actually walk around in her paintings.  As Barbara Whipple explained: “It is this deep space that interests Neff; while most of the figures in her paintings are frontal, the space and the place involves deep space, and long, back-of-the-figure perspectives.” 

Nostalgic, Neff was interested in exploring the ordinary and the familiar, what she was most comfortable with such as the people and places she knew as a child.  In photographing such familiar scenery to first sketch then paint, Neff became very involved and into her work which became a reinforcing way, of sorts, to record and capture people, places, and memories.  Neff viewed her own paintings as symbolic because she tried to eternalize a moment in time. 

  • Source: “Edith Neff: Nostalgic New Realist” by Barbara Whipple (American Artist, vol. 38, issue 387, January 1974)

Fast Facts

Name: Edith Neff

Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1965 – B.F.A. in Painting from the Philadelphia College of Art (now known as the University of the Arts)

Notable or memorable instructors or mentors:
Marvin Bileck, Close friend Painter Harry Soviak
Contradicting painting approaches of her teachers Larry Day and Bob Kaiser

Particular field of study or class work:
Painting (figure)

Major influences/admired artists:
Italian renaissance painters such as Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Baroque painters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velázquez
French impressionists painters such as Claude Monet and Edgar Degas
Modern and contemporary artists such as Edward Hopper, Paul Georges, James Valerio, Chuck Close, Fairfield Porter, Louisa Mathias-Dottir, and Alice Neel

Favorite materials or media:
Oil paint, pastels, and charcoal

School or university affiliation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Adjunct Associate Faculty, Painting Department, Philadelphia College of Art, 1971 – 1986
Figure Painting & Drawing Faculty, Painting Department, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1978 – until her death in 1995

Gallery Representation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Husband Albert Neff was Edith’s primary agent and sales representative

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