Eli's Friend
© Alex Katz

Reference URL

Eli's Friend 1985
  • Artist Rooms
Although painted from life, this oil study of the artist’s friend has a photographic quality in its centred, cropped composition and frontal gaze. Katz has been painting portraits of his family and friends in New York since the 1950s; these are now seen as precursors of Pop Art. Often grand in scale, they have a slick finish and detached manner with undercurrents of melancholia. Small oil paintings such as this one are sketched from life and often intended to be scaled up into larger works, but their economic execution and visible brushstrokes reveal an intimate side to his practice. He says, "A sketch is very direct. It is working empirically, inside of an idea."

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Pop Art

An art movement of the 1950s to the 1970s that was primarily based in Britain and the United States. Pop artists are so called because of their use of imagery from popular culture. They also introduced techniques and materials from the commercial world, such as screen-printing, to fine art practice.

Composition, Pop Art


  • Acc. No. AR00018
  • Medium Oil paint on hardboard
  • Size 42.20 x 32.00 x 3.4 cm (framed: 40.20 x 30.00 x 3.00 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008