About the Artist
Early Years and Education
Alex Katz was born in Brooklyn in 1927, raised in Queens, and has lived in his SoHo loft since 1968. His parents, who emigrated from Russia, encouraged Katz’s interest in the arts. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School, whose curriculum allowed him to study academic subjects in the morning and arts in the afternoon.
Alex Katz in J. Crew Catalogue 2009
In 1946, Katz enrolled at Cooper Union, where he studied painting. After high school graduation, in 1949, he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, in Maine, where he studied life drawing and plein air painting.
[photo] Alex Katz White Impatiens 2016 http://www.alexkatz.com/print_archive
Career and Family
Katz had his first solo exhibit at the Roko Gallery in 1954. He began painting his stylized portraits in the ‘50s, using the bold backgrounds that make his work so distinguishable.
At a gallery opening in 1957, Katz met Ada Del Moro, a biologist with an MS degree from NYU. Ada has not only been his wife for nearly sixty years, but also his muse. Ada appears in over 200 of Katz’s works.
Alex Katz Alex and Ada 1984
The couple’s son, Vincent, was born in 1960. Vincent, his wife, Vivien and their sons Isaac and Oliver, have also been subjects of Katz’s work.
[photo] Alex Katz Large Head of Vincent 1982 http://www.alexkatz.com/print_archive
In 1965, Katz began to produce lithographs, silkscreens, woodcuts, aquatints and linocuts. Though his style appears simple, it belies the complexity of color and design in his prints.
Alex Katz Song 1980-1
Katz and Ada have spent every summer, for more than fifty years, at their farmhouse, and studio, in Maine.
Alex Katz Moose 2013
Collections and Awards
Alex Katz’s paintings and prints are part of the permanent collections of the National Museum of American Art, The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, The Tate, The Albertina, The French National Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Japan and other venues around the world.
His numerous awards include induction into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, The Chicago Bar Association Award for Art in Public Places, The Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum in New York and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Painting.