Alex Katz first emerged on the New York art scene during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism and before the birth of Pop art, but always worked independently of these movements. Katz is best known for his distinctive portraits of sophisticated, irresistible women, masterfully painted using precise, broad areas of colour. Alongside these unmistakably ‘Katzian’ female portraits are pictures of men, groups, landscapes and interiors, rendered in paint on canvas or metal cut-outs as well as drawing and collage. All attest to the artist’s attention to detail, economy of means and consummate technique.
Larger-than-life paintings such as The Black Dress (1960), Blue Umbrella (1972), Red Coat (1982) and White Visor (2003) have entered the collective consciousness as the epitome of a particular, late twentieth-century feminine ideal. A major touring retrospective was organized by New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art in 1986, and Katz has exhibited widely all over the world. His works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; and the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, among many others.
A leading world expert on Katz, distinguished New York art critic Carter Ratcliff writes the definitive, comprehensive Survey, following Katz’s work from the 1950s to the present. In the Interview New York-based curator and critic Robert Storr discusses in detail with the artist his practice and technique in the context of a changing art world. Curator Iwona Blazwick enters in her Focus the silent world of Sylvia (1962-63), a classic Katz portrait that resonates with the urban landscape occupied by both artist and sitter. For Artist’s Choice Katz has selected nine works by New York School Poets, all of whom share a particular, often personal connection to his work. Artist’s Writings range from an early text from 1959 on Katz’s dislike of the term ‘academy’ to a recent text that reflects on his beginnings as an artist. Key interviews with some of the of the twentieth century’s most prestigious art figures – including critic David Sylvester and artists Francesco Clemente, Jane Freilicher and Richard Prince – are also included.