Rediscovered, Again: Pat Steir and Alex Katz

Pat Steir 1940-present

In a New York Times interview, Pat Steir quipped that she has been “forgotten and rediscovered many times” during her more than fifty-year-long career.

Steir’s most recent “rediscovery” happened in 2018, when she was commissioned by the Barnes Foundation to create a series of paintings that became her very successful 7-feet tall Secret Waterfall Series. The same year she was invited to do a commission for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and had a magnificent show in Rome. Those shows followed the release of Pat Steir: Artist, a moving documentary about the artist’s life and work.

Pat Steir
Elective Affinity Waterfall, 1992.

2018 was also the year that Steir joined the small circle of female artists whose works garnered seven figures at auction, with Elective Affinity Waterfall selling for more than $2.2 million at Phillips, New York.

That was the good news. The bad news was that, after years of climbing the ten-foot ladder that she used to paint her enormous canvasses, Steir slipped in her kitchen. She was injured, and now walks with a cane, but that hasn’t stopped her from working. She has an assistant and a lift to carry her up to the great heights she needs to create her works.

Pat Steir
The Wave After Hokusai, 1986
Oil on canvas
90 x 90 inches
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Much of Pat Steir’s work has been inspired by Chinese landscape painting and philosophy, Japanese calligraphy and Haboku, a  Zen Buddhist painting technique, in which washes and layers of ink are used to create a landscape, using minimal brushwork.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760 -1849)
The Great Wave off Kanagawa, 1831
Woodblock Print

In The Wave After Hokusai, Steir pays homage to Katsushika Hokusai’s work, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, one of the world’s most recognizable and reproduced images in the history of art.

Pat Steir’s works are part of the permanent collections of the Met, MoMA, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Tate, London and many other major venues around the world.

The Wave After Hokusai is available at Surovek Gallery.

Alex Katz 1927 – present

The work of Alex Katz is not Pop, Op, Abstract and has never fit into any category that art critics can define. The headline of a review of Katz’s current retrospective at the Guggenheim, in The Boston Globe, reads: Does the art world finally ‘get’ Alex Katz?. 

Alex Katz
Ariel Black and White, 2016
2 – color silkscreen on Saunders 425 gsm paper
36 x 76 inches
Edition 23/ 40
For sale at Surovek Gallery

Katz has had a successful career for more than eighty years. Art lovers around the world have been collecting his paintings and sculptures, but he has not had a major retrospective in America for more than forty years.

Critics have often overlooked his work. Until now.

The current retrospective at the Guggenheim has elicited the same response from most of the art critics: Why did it take us so long to see how great an artist Katz has always been?

In an interview with CBS, before the opening of his retrospective, Katz voiced his frustration with critics, and his determination to stick to his unique style.

Alex Katz: Gathering will be on exhibit through February 20, 2023.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Pat Steir and Alex Katz available at Surovek Gallery.

Amanda Millet-Sorsa. Pat Steir: Blue River and Rainbow Waterfalls. The Brooklyn Rail/ArtSeen. December 2022-January 2023 Issue.
John Yau. Pat Steir Accepts Time’s Passage With Grace. Hyperallergic. December 15, 2022.
Patrick Wood. Hokusai’s wave: Is this the most reproduced artwork in history?. ABC News. July 19, 2017.
Saul Ostrow. Alex Katz: Gathering. The Brooklyn Rail. December 2022-January 2023 Issue.
Murray Whyte. Does the art world finally ‘get’ Alex Katz? The Boston Globe. December 1, 2022.
2023-01-12T13:01:40-05:00 January 4th, 2023|

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