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Giving My Father Back His Name: Talk and Book Signing with Jerry Strauss

May 21, 2022, 1:00 pm
man in a blue suit sitting in a chair

Alice Neel, “Fuller Brush Man,” 1965 © The Estate of Alice Neel. Courtesy The Estate of Alice Neel and David Zwirner.

Koret Auditorium

This talk will illuminate and celebrate the life of Dewald Strauss, portrayed by Alice Neel in her painting Fuller Brush Man. In this talk and book signing, Jerry Strauss will share the true story behind the painting of his father, a Holocaust survivor and door-to-door salesman. Book signing to follow.

Can’t join us in person?

Watch the livestream on YouTube 

About the Speaker

Jerry Strauss has always loved music, art, and a good story. As a longtime employee of The Met, he had the chance to experience art on a daily basis. One day, during a TED event at the museum, he got an opportunity to tell the story of his dad, a Holocaust survivor, war hero, and subject of the very famous portrait Fuller Brush Man by Alice Neel. That story evolved into his book, Giving My Father Back His Name, which teaches us that there is a profound tale behind every picture.

About the Exhibition 

Alice Neel (1900–1984) was one of the century’s most radical painters, a champion of social justice whose longstanding commitment to humanist principles inspired her life as well as her art. Alice Neel: People Come First is the first comprehensive West Coast retrospective of Neel’s work. The award-winning exhibition includes paintings, drawings, and watercolors, along with additional artworks and media exclusive to the San Francisco presentation.

Neel spent most of her life in New York City, and her work testifies to the diversity, resilience, and passion of the people she encountered there. The exhibition includes depictions of Neel’s neighbors in Spanish Harlem, political leaders, queer cultural figures, activists, and mothers, along with a diverse representation of nude figures, including visibly pregnant women. Neel's "pictures of people" embody a rare candor and irreverence. Together they emphasize her belief in the dignity and worth of all individuals, a view that remains critical to the social and cultural politics of our time.

COVID-19 Guidance  

Masking is strongly recommended, but no longer required for members of the public or employees while in the museum.

Ticket Information

Seating is limited and unassigned. Program tickets are distributed on a first-come first-served basis in front of the Koret Auditorium an hour before the program begins. This does not include admission to the exhibition.

Contact Information

Public Programs
(415) 750-7694