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Alex Katz was born in New York in 1927. In 1946 he began to study painting at The Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan. At an early stage he developed motifs from the artistic genres portrait painting and landscape painting, which still characterize his work today.
Katz prefers the large-scale format, which is an indicator for the immediacy of his motifs and for the formal continuation of the creative principles of advertisement. That has become his typical form of depiction. In this way, the landscape paintings convey the beholder a feeling of being surrounded by nature. Portrait painting means to Katz depicting the instantaneous presence, a snapshot of a moment in time, like photography. The portrait subjects seem to come very close to the beholder. However, they are between the poles of closeness and restraint. So, they never unfold their personalities and also keep distance.
In his graphic oeuvre, Katz increases the radiance of his paintings in various graphic techniques like screen print, lithography, etching as well as lino- or woodcuts. Each of these techniques is part of his artistic mastership, and he constantly improves them together with his master-printers.
Image: Alex Katz, Nicole, 2018, Lithograph, Woodcut, Screenprint
The world is as it seems ... Depth hides itself. Where? On the surface.
I was not trying to express myself, I was trying to learn.
I’m really trying to make things immediate. Graphic art can be quicker than paintings because it’s reduced.
My things are influenced by graphic art, by camera movies, TV and things like that. That are the influences and I’m seeing it – I’m trying to make something that looks new.
The painter, draftsman and graphic artist Katz, who also sculptures his motifs in the cutouts, has shaped the art of the 20th and 21st centuries for over 65 years. His style of cool painting is considered pioneering for American pop art and continues to inspire generations of artists to this day.
The work of the artist, who was born in New York in 1927, is part of museum collections worldwide and has been in recent years in the Albertina in Vienna, in the Tate Modern in London, in the Guggenheim in Bilbao, in the Museum Brandhorst in Munich and in the Musée de l ' Orangery seen in Paris. Another retrospective is showing the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid this year. Graphics, drawings and cutouts from more than twenty years of creativity will be on display in the Boisserée Gallery.