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The black dress has been a recurrent theme in Alex Katz's work since the very beginning. The theme of the edition goes back to one of his most iconic early paintings, which is indeed titled "Black Dress“, created in 1960 and depicting 6 different perspectives of a woman; his wife and muse Ada, wearing a classic cut little black dress, very similar to the one featured in the iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany. Today, this painting is part of the Brandhorst Collection in Munich, Germany.
"Alex Katz’s Black Dress series is just as modern and wonderful. And, ironically it has nothing to do with fashion. His portrait has such strong color fields and clean lines. And despite their apparent simplicity, they’re extremely expressive and perfectly capture the essence of his subjects. You can’t help but notice these women, these beautiful enigmas drawn in bold and certain strokes. You wonder who they are, how they live, what they feel, just exactly what they have going on. “ —Calvin Klein
The composition for the edition Black Dress (Yi), refers to the painting series titled "Black Dress" from 2010. Yi is part of the "Black Dress" series of 9 life-size screen prints of the main women Katz has painted over the years. Each standing with the upper part of their bodies shifted to the side with one arm around their waists. Aside from different names, hair color, and shoes, they’re all strikingly similar – chic and could easily be guests at a cocktail party.
Katz doesn’t condemn materialism, his work is a reflection of his surroundings, he consistently documented the high society of New York, his artistic circle of friends, and his family.
The editions of the Black Dress portfolio (set of 9) were created and re-drawn by Katz from April 2014 until February 2015, in his studio in New York City.