Alex Katz

Posted by Fabio 19 October 2009

Alex Katz once described his subjects as “quick things passing”—an idea that he embraced early in his career while studying plein air painting at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine the summer following his graduation from The Cooper Union in 1949. The northern New England environment captivated Katz and he has returned every summer to the Maine coast. In 1954 he began living and working in a 19th-century yellow clapboard farmhouse. The house and its surroundings have been the subject of numerous paintings over the years.

Born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, Alex Katz is one of the most significant artists of his generation. A graduate of the prestigious Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan in 1949, Katz was subsequently awarded a scholarship by the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine. In 1968, Katz moved into an artists’ cooperative building in SoHo, where he has lived and worked ever since.

Common to both Katz’ celebrated portraits and immersive landscapes is a pristine flat surface and an economy of line, first developed by the artist in the 1950s. Katz’ minimal aesthetic was, at this time, both an anticipation of Pop Art and a reaction to the abstract expressionist movement.

In tandem with his painting practice, Katz continues to explore three dimensional space with sculptural cutouts – a technique first established by the artist in 1959; and is also a prolific printmaker.