Alex Katz 1927 —

Biography

ALEX KATZ  (b. 1927 Brooklyn NY)

A post modern figurative artist, Katz is minimal, abstract, and realistic at the same time. With simplified detail and economical line, Katz is able to convey an entire environment and summarize it for the viewer, so that only the pure essence of that scene remains, though using only a few tones.  We must thank Alex Katz, for opening our eyes to see reality in a new way.

Sam Hunter, Princeton University, Princeton NJ


The son of Russian immigrants, Alex Katz was born July 24, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Queens in a liberal, Bohemian setting.  A leader of the new realism movement, he is a figure painter, painting realistic portraits of friends and family.

He studied three years (1946-49) at Cooper Union and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, (Skowhegan, Maine 1949-50).  Katz taught art at New York Studio School, School of Visual Arts, Yale University and Pratt Institute throughout the 1960s.  He also supported himself by making hand-carved frames and designed stage sets and costumes for the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto in 1960 and 1964.  He associated with Al Held and Philip Pearlstein and others who were struggling against the "titanic presences of Pollock and de Kooning" (abstract expressionism).

By 1954, he had his first one-person show at the Roko Gallery in New York.  The following year he began making cut paper collages.  His wife, Ada, has been his model since they married in 1958.  He works from a studio in SoHo, and they have lived in the same loft since 1968.

His figures are usually relaxed close-ups from a frontal perspective and appear in a flattened manner.  Katz's work strives to convey the feeling that it is good to be alive. It has been said that his work highly influenced the popularity of new realism in the 1970s.

An important source for modern and contemporary American & European Art in East Hampton, New York & worldwide, Janet Lehr Fine Arts' spectacular wide-ranging inventory consists of unique paintings, drawings, large & small scale sculpture, monotypes, prints and photographs  by Ansel Adams, Milton Avery, Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Fernando Botero, Cartier-Bresson, Marc Chagall, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Willem De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, David Hockney, Winslow Homer, Wolf Kahn, Jeff Koons, Fernand Leger, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Thomas Moran, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Charles Sheeler, Bert Stern, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, Carleton E Watkins, Tom Wesselmann and Andrew Wyeth.

To bookmark Janet Lehr Fine Arts Gallery website: http://www.janetlehrfinearts.com

View synoptic biography below.

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Exhibitions include:

1974
Alex Katz Prints, a traveling exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art
1986
Alex Katz, a traveling retrospective exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art
1988
Alex Katz: A Print Retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art
1995
Alex Katz: American Landscape at Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany
1996
Alex Katz at I.V.A.M. Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, Spain
1996
Alex Katz: A Drawing Retrospective, a traveling exhibition at Munson-Williams Proctor Institute, Utica, New York
1996-98
Alex Katz Under the Stars: American Landscapes 1951-1995, organized by the Institute for Contemporary Art/P.S. 1 Museum, opens at the Baltimore Museum of art; traveling to the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach Florida; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine; and P.S. 1 Museum, New York
1998
Alex Katz: Twenty Five Years of Painting at The Saatchi Collection, London, England
1999 Alex Katz at Galleria Civica Di Arte Contemporanea, Trento, Italy.
2000 Regarding Alex Katz at Carnegie Museum of Art , Pittsburgh.
2001 Alex Katz Small Paintings at Addison Gallery of American Art Phillips Academy, Andover.
2002 Alex Katz Small Paintings
at Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover.
at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
at Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York
at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, March 22-June 2, 2002
at Oklahoma City Art Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
at The Austin Museum of Art, Austin, February 15-May 4 2003

Sources:

Alex Katz's website: http://alexkatz.com/bio.html
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art   
One hundred and eleven books include a discussion of the work of Alex Katz and there are four monographs on the artist.  They have been written by Irving Sandler, "Alex Katz", 1979 and updated 1981; Richard Marshall, "Alex Katz" 1986; Michael Scholnick, "Alex Katz-From the Early 60's", 1987; Nicholas Maravell, "Alex Katz", 1983.
Works  by Alex Katz are in 31 Museums including the Colby College Museum of Art; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Denver Art Museum, Frederick R Weisman Art Museum; Georgia Museum of Art; Hunter Museum of American Art; Kresge Art Museum; Lowe Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Michael Carlos Museum; National Portrait Gallery; Neuberger Museum of Art; Orlando Museum of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Pensacola Museum of Art; Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University; San Diego Museum of Art; The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; The Parrish Art Museum; The University of Michigan Museum of Art; USC Fisher Gallery; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

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