Alex Katz works out first thing every morning before he begins to paint. “I used to do two hundred sit-ups, three hundred pushups, and a hundred chins,” he said in a recent interview in The New Yorker.“I can’t do as many now.” Katz turned ninety-one in July.
Alex Katz and his wife, Ada, have been living in their New York loft since 1967.
Katz was born and raised in New York and went to Cooper Union in 1946, after serving in the Navy. As a student, Katz rode the subways and drew. “I like the subways because the people are so interesting to look at,” Katz said. “The clothes and the colors and all that. I still like it.”
Always interested in figure drawing, Katz filled dozens of notebooks with drawings of his fellow passengers. He went back to riding and drawing on the subway when asked to design the cover of New York magazine’s 50th Anniversary Edition.
While abstract expressionism, minimalism and other mid-century movements took hold, Katz focused on figure drawing and on creating his own style. His style gradually became simple and elegant, his application of layers of paint, masterful.
After attending Cooper Union, Katz got a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine, where, students did plein air painting. Katz’ experience at the Skowhegan School proved to be a turning point in his life and career.
He painted landscapes, seascapes and flowers, honing his technique with his plein air paintings as he did with his figures, using layers of flat oils to create depth. He bought a house in Lincolnville, Maine, where he and Ada still spend every summer.
Being the consummate New Yorker, Katz has combined fashion and art, working with models to create paintings and sculptures that reflect classic fashion, especially of women wearing the little black dress.
A master painter, printmaker and sculptor, Katz’ work can be found in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Met, the Whitney, the Smithsonian, the Tate Gallery, the Centre Georges Pompidou and many other major museums and galleries around the world.
Alex Katz Sculptures and Fine Art Prints at the Surovek Gallery
Please contact us if you would like more information about Purple Hat, Sunset, Lake Wesserumett ll, Ruth from Black Dress or any of the other fine art work available at the Surovek Gallery.
Calvin Thomas. Alex Katz’s Life in Art The New Yorker. August 27, 2018.
Felsenthal, Julia. Artsplainer: Alex Katz on His Painting Vogue. June 24, 2015.
New York Magazine. For New York’s 50th Anniversary, Alex Katz Revisits His ‘Subway Drawings. October 16, 2017.