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Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

American, b. 1927

Flat color and minimal forms contrast the often monumental scales of the paintings by Alex Katz through which he creates portraits and landscapes of deceptive simplicity. Although the signature stark style that defines his prints and other work is now recognizable at a glance, it took him a decade to develop. During that time, he has said he destroyed hundreds of paintings.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Russian émigré parents, Katz’s family moved to Queens when he was a baby and that is where his family’s passion for the arts supported his early creative interests. In 1946, he enrolled at the Cooper Union in Manhattan where he studied painting under Morris Kantor. While he was influenced by the bold colors and hard edges of modernism, he shifted away from the then-dominant Abstract Expressionism movement to figurative scenes of life that have an inherent cool in their pared-down approach. Especially impactful were Katz’s summer studies between 1949 and 1950 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, a place where, as he later wrote: “I tried plein air painting and found my subject matter and a reason to devote my life to painting.”

Katz’s first solo show was in 1954 at Roko Gallery in New York. He experimented over the course of the following years with collage and painting on aluminum sheets, with his work in the 1960s drawing inspiration from film and advertising. In the 1970s, Katz expanded into portrait groups that regularly depicted the cultural scene of New York; in the 1980s, he extended his focus to fashion and its supermodels. Since the late 1950s, an enduring muse for his portraits has been his wife, Ada, while others have painted friends and famous figures. The intimate closeness of the frequently cropped faces in Katz’s portraits exudes a sense of tension with the subjects’ enigmatic expressions and planes of color.

In the 1960s, Katz collaborated with American dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor on sets and costumes. His concentration on landscapes emerged in the late 1980s, with atmospheric night views joining his practice, which had previously been defined by bright colors. Always finding new perspectives on his work, he has explored using iPhone photographs as the basis for large-scale compositions in recent years.

Katz’s prolific career has spanned sculpture, prints and public art along with his paintings and drawings, and his works can be found in the collections of leading museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art. He has had over 250 solo exhibitions around the world and continues to be acclaimed. In 2022, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened a major retrospective of his art.

Find Alex Katz art today on 1stDibs.

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Artist: Alex Katz
Alex Katz 'Ursula' 1994
By Alex Katz
Located in Miami, FL
ALEX KATZ (1927-Present) This Alex Katz 'Ursula' is a 1994 soft pencil drawing on vellum paper. This original piece is signed 'Alex Katz', previously acquired from Marlborough Galle...
Category

1990s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Archival Paper, Pencil

Alex Katz 'Rudy' 1973
By Alex Katz
Located in Miami, FL
ALEX KATZ (1927-Present) Alex Katz' 'Rudy' is a 1972 graphite drawing on paper. This original piece is signed 'Alex Katz '73', previously acquired from Marlborough Gallery, New Yor...
Category

1990s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

"Chris", charcoal, drawing, Katz, Portrait, cool
By Alex Katz
Located in Köln, DE
This is an outstanding charcoal drawing by Alex Katz. He is portraying "Chris", who was model for several paintings and prints. Drawings do have an important impact to Alex Katz pain...
Category

2010s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Charcoal

Dino & Anda
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Dino & Anda, date unknown pencil on paper 22 1/2 x 15 in. (57.2 x 38.1 cm)
Category

Late 20th Century Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

Ada in the Woods
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Ada in the Woods, 1984 pencil on paper 22 1/4 x 15 in. (56.5 x 38.1 cm)
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

Laura
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Laura, 1985 pencil on paper 22 x 15 in. (55.9 x 38.1 cm)
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

Meredith
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Meredith, 1980 pencil on paper 15 x 22 in. (38.1 x 55.9 cm)
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

Doug
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Doug, 1977 pencil on paper 22 x 15 in. (55.9 x 38.1 cm)
Category

1970s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

Elise
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Elise, 1988 charcoal and pencil on paper 33 1/4 x 47 1/4 in. (84.5 x 120 cm)
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Charcoal, Pencil

Ena
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Ena, 1986 pencil on paper 22 x 15 in. (55.9 x 38.1 cm)
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Pencil

Nathan, Red and John
By Alex Katz
Located in New York, NY
Alex Katz Nathan, Red and John, 1985 pencil on paper 37 1/4 x 24 3/4 in. (94.6 x 62.9 cm)
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings

Materials

Paper, Pencil

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Alex Katz drawings and watercolor paintings for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic Alex Katz drawings and watercolor paintings available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by Alex Katz in pencil, charcoal, paper and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 20th century and is mostly associated with the contemporary style. Not every interior allows for large Alex Katz drawings and watercolor paintings, so small editions measuring 9 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of David Becker, Antonio Lopez, and Kate Glasheen. Alex Katz drawings and watercolor paintings prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $18,000 and tops out at $50,000, while the average work can sell for $40,000.
Questions About Alex Katz Drawings and Watercolor Paintings
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 11, 2024
    What media Alex Katz uses varies. Over the course of his career, the American artist has worked in painting, sculpture and printmaking. Always finding new perspectives on his work, he has explored using iPhone photographs as the basis for large-scale compositions in recent years. On 1stDibs, shop an assortment of Alex Katz art.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Alex Katz is a contemporary artist who produced paintings, sculptures and prints. Many historians associate him with the Nouveau réalisme movement, but he also worked in figurative and Pop art styles. Shop a collection of Alex Katz art on 1stDibs.

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