Artist Trivia: Alex Katz

Who is this artist?

This painter was born in Brooklyn in 1927 and their family moved to St. Albans, a diverse community in Queens, NY in 1928. Both of their parents were interested in poetry and their mother was an actress in Yiddish theater. This artist was accepted into the prestigious Cooper Union to study art and studied in the same class as fellow artist, Lois Dodd. They studied painting under Morris Kantor and were trained in Modern art theories and techniques. This painter attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 1949 after graduating from Cooper Union. It was at Skowhegan that they were encouraged to paint from real life and once said painting this way gave them ‘a reason to devote my life to painting’.

This painter had their first solo show in 1954 at Roko Gallery in New York City. This same year this painter bought a home in Lincolnville, Maine to which they return every summer. This painter became increasingly interested in portraiture and began using monochromatic backgrounds which would become a distinctive feature of their work.

We celebrate this artist on July 24 on their 95th birthday,

Who is Alex Katz?

Works by Alex Katz can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide and his work has been the subject of over 250 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions since the early 1950’s.  Katz began painting large scale portraits in the early 1960s which often featured dramatically cropped faces. He later focused much attention on large landscape paintings, often loosening the edges of the forms in a painterly style. Calvin Tompkins wrote in The New Yorker, ‘ His paintings make us see the world the way he sees it, clear and up close, with all but the most essential details pared away.’

The Farnsworth will be lending one of Katz’s works— Rudy (a portrait of his friend Rudy Burchardt, the photographer and filmmaker)—to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City for their exhibition Alex Katz: Gathering, opening on October 21.

We celebrate Alex Katz on his 95th birthday

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