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Alex Katz 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.

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Artist: Alex Katz
Reflection 2
By Alex Katz
Located in Fairfield, CT
Edition of 100 Archival pigment ink on Innova Etching Cotton Rag 315 gsm fine art paper
Category

2010s Contemporary Alex Katz Paintings

Materials

Archival Ink, Rag Paper

Alex Katz 'Twilight' Oil Painting 1988
By Alex Katz
Located in Miami, FL
ALEX KATZ (1927-Present) This beautiful Alex Katz 1988 untitled work from the 'Twilight' series is an oil painting on masonite measuring 16 × 12 inches. This original piece is in ex...
Category

1980s Contemporary Alex Katz Paintings

Materials

Oil, Masonite

1946 "Untitled" oil on canvas painting signed and dated by artist Alex Katz.
By Alex Katz
Located in Boca Raton, FL
"Untitled" oil on canvas painting by artist Alex Katz. Signed and dated A. Katz 46 recto lower right. Painted in 1946, during the period when Katz was studying at Cooper Union in New...
Category

1940s Modern Alex Katz Paintings

Materials

Canvas, Oil

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Alex Katz paintings for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic Alex Katz paintings available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by Alex Katz in oil paint, paint, archival ink 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 paintings, so small editions measuring 12 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Alex Ross, Patty Neal, and Judy Reynolds. Alex Katz paintings prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $16,000 and tops out at $80,000, while the average work can sell for $75,000.
Questions About Alex Katz Paintings
  • 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.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 16, 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.

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