Painting seems an old man’s business. After a certain time you’re out of it, and you just paint masterpieces. – Alex Katz
Alex Katz is painting masterpieces. He turns 94 on July 24, 2021. His quote is tongue-in-cheek quote reflects his attitude as an artist who has focused on doing things his way throughout his seven decade career.
“I never paid attention to what people said,” he told a recent Galerie magazine interviewer. “I knew I would always work out what I wanted to do. My style was ahead of the public and certainly of the institutions. They were never on the same page with me. Curators followed what they read in art history books, which are out of date. Most art history by the time you read it is out of date.”
Katz attended Cooper Union in the late 1940s and began to pursue his career as a fine artist. While Abstract Expressionism was the style of the day, Katz was more interested in figurative painting. He did not garner praise from most American art critics, but he continued to sharpen his skills and create his own style, using simple forms and bold colors. As the years passed and Abstract Expressionism was replaced by Op Art, Pop Art and other styles, Katz continued on his own path. He has not only mastered the art of painting, but has also become a master printmaker and sculptor.
He found support in Europe early in his career and, slowly and steadily, has been getting the recognition he deserves in the United States.
His works have sold above high estimates at auction in the past two years. In 2019, Blue Umbrella I, done in 1972, sold at Phillips Auction House in London for $4.1 million. Last year, The Red Band, done in 1978, sold at Sotheby’s New York for $3.1 million.
Alex Katz spend part of the quarantine painting flowers in Pennsylvania. He’s back in New York now, working in the SoHo studio that he and his wife, Ada, have lived since 1968. Katz is preparing for an upcoming retrospective of his work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2022, as well as solo exhibits in Paris, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the recently acquired works of Alex Katz available at Surovek Gallery.
Lucy Rees. Looking Back at Alex Katz’s Remarkable Seven-Decade Career. Galerie Magazine. December 22, 2020.
Emma Brockes. Alex Katz: “The smartest people bought my work” The Graudian. October 29, 2018.