Edith Neff, Self-Portrait
This painting is the last of Neff's eight known oil self-portraits. Neff's studio was on the third floor of her Kater Street, Philadelphia house, and it was here that almost all of her self portraits were painted. For Neff, the studio was an important part of an artist’s identity. She depicts herself in this private space, staring out at the viewer in underwear and slippers. On the board resting on the floor is a preparatory drawing for her large 1988 canvas, The Lure of the Abyss. The framed watercolor of flowers to the left of her face is by close friend and teaching colleague Harry Soviak, who had died several years earlier of AIDS.
Neff included this self-portrait in several group exhibitions and in her 1992 solo exhibition, Edith Neff: Themes and Variations, at Rider College Gallery, Lawrenceville, New Jersey. The painting was a centerpiece of the memorial exhibition of her paintings, pastels, and drawings held in 1996 at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Woodmere also owns Neff's first known oil self-portrait, painted circa 1964.