Biography of Alex Katz
Alex Katz is an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker celebrated for his figurative paintings. His works are instantly recognizable through their brightly colored, flattened style that was created in reaction to 1950s Abstract Expressionism. Despite being widely recognized for his role as a precursor to the Pop-Art movement, Alex Katz has avoided being affiliated with a singular style or movement throughout his career.
Born in New York in 1927, Alex Katz served in the Navy before attending art school where he developed his trademark style by experimenting with collaging paper. He has a varied oeuvre, ranging from large landscape paintings to figure studies, marine scenes, and flowers. However, Alex Katz is perhaps best known for his documentation of the people and social happenings that surround him. He takes his family and friends as his subjects, creating intimate painterly moments that often borrow visual techniques from advertising or cinema such as a repetition of features or cropping the scene. He is perhaps most well-known for his many portraits of his wife and muse, Ada.
Since 1951 Alex Katz’s work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions internationally including shows at the Serpentine Gallery, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1986) and the Brooklyn Museum of Art (1988) led to major exhibitions of Alex Katz’s landscape and portrait painting in Europe, the United States and Asia, and his work features in over 100 public collections worldwide.
The artist has received a steady stream of honors throughout his career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, New York (2007); the Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award (2000); the Queens Museum of Art Award for Lifetime Achievement and an Award for Art in Public Places (1985), to name only a few. He currently lives and works in New York and Maine.