Selected Works

Alex Katz was born in 1927, in Brooklyn, New York.
Katz was raised by his Russian émigré parents, both of whom were interested in poetry and the arts, his mother having been an actress in Yiddish Theater. Katz attended Woodrow Wilson High School for its unique program that allowed him to devote his mornings to academics and his afternoons to the arts. In 1946, Katz entered The Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan.

From From 1946 to 1949 Katz studied at The Cooper Union in New York, and from 1949 to 1950 he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. Skowhegan exposed him to painting from life, which would prove pivotal in his development as a painter and remains a staple of his practices today. Katz explains that Skowhegan’s plein air painting gave him “a reason to devote my life to painting
In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces. Ada Katz, whom he married in 1958, has been the subject of over 250[15] portraits throughout his career.[16]To make one of his large works, Katz paints a small oil sketch of a subject on a masonite board; the sitting might take an hour and a half. He then makes a small, detailed drawing in pencil or charcoal, with the subject returning, perhaps, for the artist to make corrections. Katz next blows up the drawing into a “cartoon,” sometimes using an overhead projector, and transfers it to an enormous canvas via “pouncing”—a technique used by Renaissance artists, involving powdered pigment pushed through tiny perforations pricked into the cartoon to recreate the composition on the surface to be painted. Katz pre-mixes all his colors and gets his brushes ready. Then he dives in and paints the canvas—12 feet wide by 7 feet high or even larger—in a session of six or seven hours.

After his Whitney exhibition in 1974, Katz focused on landscapes stating “I wanted to make an environmental landscape, where you were IN it.”[20] In the late 1980s, Katz took on a new subject in his work: fashion models in designer clothing, including Kate Moss and Christy Turlington.[4] “I’ve always been interested in fashion because it’s ephemeral,” he said.[21]
Katz has received numerous accolades throughout his career. In 2007, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, New York. In 2005, Katz was the honored artist at the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Inaugural Richard Gray Annual Visual Arts Series
Works by Alex Katz can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide. Most notably, those in America include: Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Saatchi Collection (England), and the Tate Gallery (England), among others.

In 1968, Katz moved to an artists’ cooperative building in SoHo, New York City, where he has lived and worked ever since. He continues to spend his summers in Lincolnville, Maine.

EXHIBITIONS