Alex Katz (American, born 1927)
Woman in Gray Striped Jacket, 1981
Edition of 58, 16/58
Frame: 37 ¾ x 45 ¼ inches, paper: 29 ½ x 37 inches
Alex Katz was first recognized as a leading avant-garde Pop Artist in the late 1950s when he began making cut paper collages. In the 1990s, Katz is once again capturing attention as an artist whose work is on the cutting edge. His larger than life canvases depicting urban nocturnal landscapes are gaining recognition in Europe and America among young artists and savvy collectors. Katz’ work has been in and out of favor with the public over the last forty years, and serves as a barometer for the art world’s evolving direction and tastes. He sees himself as an “artist against the grain.” The subtle and quirky language of figuration, reminiscent of billboards of the 1950s, made him seem old fashion when compared to his more celebrated contemporaries, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. He has remained true to his style throughout his career and his favorite expression in describing that style is “Something hot done in a cool way.” Katz’ work reflects a humane, poetic quality and he captures faces, almost iconic in nature, with real expressions and individuality. His subjects are personal and real, and the viewer is drawn into the artist’s world, whether he is depicting elegant New York women, (usually his wife, Ada) or his circle of acquaintances at play. His close cropping of images resembles the unambiguous qualities of both photography and Japanese prints. The paint is flat but vivacious and fluid. The rendering of subjects appears to be cool and impersonal, yet captures the sensitivity to details of the recognizable world of Katz. He has been able to maintain his ability to produce works that are poetic in nature yet remain true to his own stylization.
*Currently not on view