Katz is probably best known as a printer but he also did paintings, drawing, sculptures, collages, and painted cut-out figures. He has also done some set design for the choreographer Paul Taylor in 1960. Alex Katz was born on July 24, 1927 in Brooklyn, NY. In 1928 moves to St. Albans, Queens with his family. After serving in WW2 he studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in NY from 1946-49, and then at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine from 1949-50. During the 1950’s Alex was influenced by the work of Jackson Pollock and other abstract Expressionists. During this time he produced swiftly executed pictures of trees as well as several works based on photographs.
By the mid-1950s, he was working from life, they where brightly colored works of landscape, interiors and exterior figures and soon afterward he also made easier images in collage. These early works emphasized the flatness of the picture plane while remaining representational, doing this set made his work stand out from other artists it also was at the forefront of Pop Art which didn’t come about till the following decade. He developed his style in the portrait works of ordinary people from the late 1950s, such as Ada with White Dress. He did In 1954 Alex did his first one person show at the Roko Gallery in New York.
In 1955 he made his very first collage. Soon after Alex met his future wife, Ada de Moro. In 1960 they had a son Vincent. They where then Married in 1958.
In 1972 he was awarded the Guggenheim Grant in Painting. He currently lives and works in New York. Alex Katz is one of the most important American artists to have emerged since 1950. Throughout his career, which now spans more than thirty years, Katz has produced a remarkable and impressive body of work that constitutes a unique aspect of modern realism.
“Portraits have been the mainstay of Katz’s paintings since the late 1950’s – especially of his wife, Ada, son, Vincent, and a circle of friends composed of artists, poets, critics and dancers. Katz’s portraits form a new and distinctive type of realism in American art which combines aspects of both abstraction and representation. His work is characterized by flatly painted, dramatically cropped, oversize heads that recall movies, advertising and billboards. Katz’s concern is not with an emotional narrative, but with the style of portraiture – with giving the traditional genre to posed portraits an expansive, contemporary look.