When Alex Katz walked into the opening of his retrospective at the Guggenheim on October 21, the crowd erupted in applause.
The 95-year-old artist stood out in his white suit and yellow tie, among the sophisticated New York crowd, mostly dressed in black.
After many decades of being ignored, and often unappreciated by critics, Alex Katz has finally gotten his due. In an interview with CBS, he said that he never thought he would be given a retrospective. Year after year, decade after decade, Katz painted family, friends and the landscapes around his Maine summer home. He did over 1,000 paintings of his wife, Ada. “When I got a bad review I wanted to come out the next time and stick an elbow in the reviewer’s face.” he said. “You know, I think that’s part of the drive.”
His drive has certainly paid off; at this years’ Art Basel Miami, Katz’s paintings and sculptures have been highly sought after. Artnet News reported that one of the first works sold was a painting by Katz for $750,000.
Although his works have always been well received in Paris and other European countries and are in major museums around the world, his refusal to conform to the New York art world’s expectations, kept him from having the popular reputations of some of his contemporaries, like Jasper Johns and Robert Indiana.
But Alex Katz stuck to painting the people and places that were right in front of him, and honing his skills as a painter, printmaker and sculptor.
The retrospective at the Guggenheim begins with Katz’s early works and, as visitors ascend through the galleries, the works become smoother, larger and more elegant. The Guggenheim made a video called: The Immediate Present, that shows Katz and the surroundings of his Lincolnville, Maine summer home; the place that long been his inspiration. The video shows Katz in the landscape, and gives the viewer a glimpse of seeing it through Katz’s eyes.
Alex Katz: Gathering will be on exhibit at the Guggenheim New York through February 20, 2023. In conjunction with the Guggenheim retrospective, the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine is presenting Alex Katz: Dance and Theatre Collaborations through February 19, 2023.
Artlyst. New York In November: Alex Katz – Edward Hopper And More – Ilka Scobie/Alex Katz at the Guggenheim Museum. November 13, 2022.
Jane Wooldridge, Siobhan Morrissey and Amanda Rosa. Heading out to enjoy Miami Art Week? Here are some works of art you can’t miss. Miami Herald. December 2, 2022.
Artnet News. Price Check! Here’s What Sold—and for How Much—at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. December 5, 2022.
Richard Lacayo. What powers artists who reach old age? The work. The Washington Post. December 6, 2022.