Alex Katz (American, born 1927) is the outstanding protagonist of figurative painting and one of our era's most acclaimed artists. In the late 1950s, the artist began to develop his mature style, characterized by elegance, simplicity, and stylized abstraction, which typifies his entire production. Alex Katz’s paintings are the result of a transformation of the three-dimensional world into simplified landscapes and portraits. He chooses to minimize details and shading and to present bold contours and blocks of colour. Indeed, Alex Katz’s art captures the appearances and transposes them into paintings.
“In a hundred years? That’s a residue. It’s the here and now, that I’m interested in. If you get that, it explodes into eternity.” —Alex Katz
Alex Katz’s portraits feature his own social milieu – friends, fellow artists, and most notably his wife Ada, whom he has painted more than 200 times. The artist’s quest to represent the experience of spectatorship is reflected in his portraits, also in his large landscapes, which he characterizes as “environmental”. In his continued experimentation with different media, the artist creates what he calls “cut-outs”, freestanding sculptures that blur the line between painting and object. Back in 1965, Katz began experimenting with printmaking, which became a key aspect of his artistic practice. Alex Katz’s prints, which vary from lithographs, etchings, and silkscreens to linoleum cuts, have been exhibited in major museums, such as the Albertina Museum in Vienna, which, in 2010, showed a retrospective survey of over 150 graphic works, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in an exhibition in 2012. The transposition of his notable paintings into prints allows Alex Katz to make his art more accessible to his collectors, thereby maintaining the same allure and stylish power as his painted works.