Alex Katz (b. 1927) is an important American figurative artist associated with the Pop Art movement. Primarily known for his paintings and prints, Katz utilizes bold simplicity, heightened color, and economy of line to create stylized portraits and landscapes that are defined by their hard-edge and flatness of form. By the mid-1960s, Katz began what would be a prolific career in printmaking, producing more than 400 editions of lithographs, etchings, silkscreens, woodcuts, and linoleum cuts.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Katz studied at The Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan under Morris Kantor, where he received his BA in 1949. He later attended summer study at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine.
From 1955 to 1959, Katz made small collages of figures in landscapes from hand-colored strips of delicately cut paper. In the late 1950s, he moved towards greater realism in his paintings and began exploring portraiture and monochromatic elements. In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces. After 1964, Katz increasingly portrayed groups of figures. He would continue painting these complex groups into the 1970s. In the 1980s, Katz took on fashion imagery before focusing his attention on large landscape paintings in the late 1980s and 1990s. During the turn of the century, Katz became returned to his interest in painting flowers.
Katz’s first solo show was held in 1954. His work has since been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide. The Whitney Museum of American Art organized a retrospective in 1986, and the Brooklyn Museum followed with a print retrospective of Katz’s work in 1988. In 2010, “Alex Katz: Prints” was on view at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, which showed a retrospective survey of over 150 graphic works. The National Portrait Gallery in London presented an exhibition titled “Alex Katz: Portraits.” The Jewish Museum held an exhibition of his works featuring his wide Ada in 2006. Colby College in Maine holds an extensive collection of Katz’s work.
Katz has received numerous accolades throughout his career. Works by Alex Katz can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide.