Alex Katz

Born: 1927

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Lives and Works: New York, NY


Education: Summer Study Scholarship, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, MI, 1949
B.A.The Cooper Union Art School, 1949

Works by the Artist

Alex Katz Bio

About The Artist

A seminal figure in postwar American art, Brooklyn-born artist Alex Katz's distinctive style and decades-long career have made him one of the most recognizable and widely lauded artists of his generation. Though he emerged in the New York art world in the 1950s during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, Katz has been dedicated to figurative painting throughout his career, anticipating Pop art with his bold use of color and stylized renderings of humans, animals, and landscapes.

In the 1950s, Katz began experimenting with printmaking, which became a key aspect of his artistic practice. In addition to his large-scale paintings, Katz has produced dozens of print editions using a variety of techniques, including lithographs, etchings, silkscreens, and linoleum cuts. These prints, beginning with the 1965 work Luna Park, are typically distillations of previous paintings that he has pared down to their graphic essences. He is also known for his signature "cutouts," portraits of animals or figures on wood, and later aluminum, that merge the flat, graphic quality of his paintings and prints with the three-dimensionality of freestanding sculpture.

While he is well-known for works featuring his own social milieu— often depicting parties, portraits of friends and fellow artists, and, perhaps most notably, his wife Ada, who has been his model and muse for decades—the landscape of Maine, which he first encountered as a resident at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1949-50, has been a central point of reference throughout his career. Katz has spent each summer in Maine since the mid-1950s and the natural surroundings of the area are a recurring subject in his work. In 1996, the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville Maine opened a new wing dedicated solely to his work, housing a collection of over 700 paintings, drawings, and prints by Katz, a testament to his close connection to the area.

Since his first solo show, at Roko Gallery in New York in 1954, Katz has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions, including solo shows at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the Saatchi Collection in London, the Brooklyn Museum, the Musée Grenoble, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, and the Museum fur Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt. Katz has also been included in notable group exhibitions, such as the Whitney Biennial in 1991, 1979, and 1973, and its precursor, the Whitney Annual, in 1967.

Click here to read an interview with Alex Katz about his printmaking process.


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