George McNeil was one of the most important and influential New York School artists and teachers of his generation. There is no period during his six-decade long career in which his work is not highly regarded. McNeil's work has been prominently and widely exhibited ever since his debut as one of only five non-objective painters in the New York World's Fair Show of 1939. Today, his work can be found in such important collections as: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, to name but a few.
Looking back on his lengthy career, McNeil must be considered one of the preeminent American Expressionist painters of the 20th Century. His work evolved successfully from the post-Cubist abstract Expressionism of his Hofmann School days, through the figurative expressionism of his mid-career during the 1960's and 1970's, to emerge as full-blown neo-expressionism in the 1980's and 1990's. With "avant-gardism" as his watchword, McNeil was always at the forefront of the American expressionist movement. His extraordinary body of work pays tribute to his talent and his uncompromising commitment to artistic growth.
In a statement prepared for a solo exhibition of his work at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1985, McNeil commented, "I have been told that my abstract landscapes and my beat up figures make me a part of the New Expressionist movement. This disconcerts me because I have been an old expressionist for so long that it isn't funny. I am like Moliere's Monsieur Jourdain who was surprised to learn he had been speaking prose all his life."