Alex Katz

Alex Katz

Alex Katz is an American artist, who was born in July 1927 in Brooklyn, New York. His family moved to Queens in 1928, which is where he grew up. In the mid to late 1940s, Alex Katz studied at the Cooper Union in New York, and then he took his studies to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. It was here that he began to study painting from life, which proved to be a pivotal turning point in his artistic career, as this is still a regular practice in his work today.

In the early years of his career, Alex Katz readily admits that he destroyed upwards of one thousand of his early works, in an effort to recognize and develop his individual style as an artist. Each year from June to September, Katz would move from his apartment in SoHo, New York to a farmhouse in Maine. In fact, he has been a long time summer resident of Maine since the mid 1950s. Here, he developed close ties and relationships with the people of Maine, and he developed an especially close relationship with Colby College. He made a collection of works inspired by Maine, including small collages of still lifes, Maine landscapes, and more.

Beginning in the 1950s, Katz began to try to redevelop his work, in attempts to create art more freely. He stated that his goal was to paint and create art faster than his brain could think. To the untrained eye, the works might seem simplistic; however, the seasoned art fan will understand the depths of work and complexity behind the pieces.

Katz’s first solo exhibition was held at the Roko Gallery in 1954. By this point in time, Alex Katz had begun to further his relationships with the New York School, and also their affiliates in the other forms of art. Increasing his interest in realism in his paintings, he became more and more interested in portraiture, and painted many pieces of his friends and especially his wife, Ada.

In 1959, Katz began exploring another genre of art, and produced his first cutout, which he turned into a series of essentially flat sculptures. Into the 1960s, most likely inspired by television and print advertising of the time, Katz began to produce large scale paintings. From here, Katz continued his artistic career creating many different pieces, including etchings, silkscreening, lithography, and linoleum cut.

Into the 1960s, Katz began to further develop his skills, and began to design sets and costumes for choreographers, and then turned his focus to an entirely new subject — fashion models in designer clothes.

For an illustrated description of the life and works of Alex Katz, be sure not to miss this timeline, which highlights important dates and events in his professional and personal life.

Alex Katz Artwork

The works of Alex Katz are varied and span many mediums and forms. In addition to his film and video works, dance collaborations, magazine collaborations, and public art, Katz has also produced a large number of prints, including:

  • Man at a Table
  • Cat In Chair
  • Luna Park 1
  • Jean
  • Dog in Chair
  • Poppy
  • Day Lily 1
  • Day Lily 2
  • Ada From Below
  • Homage to Frank O’Hara: William Dumas

About Hamilton-Selway Fine Art

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