Alex Katz

Kate

About this artwork

Katz painted his friend Kate as a study for a series of 11 larger paintings from 1993 to 1994 called ‘Smile’. The series shows women centred on black backgrounds smiling awkwardly, as if posing for photographs, their stiff composure suggesting vulnerability. 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."

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  • title:
    Kate
  • accession number:
    AR00019
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil paint on hardboard
  • date created:
    1994
  • measurements:
    40.30 x 30.40 x 0.30 cm (framed: 43.20 x 33.30 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line:
    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
  • copyright:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Presented by the artist and acquired with assistance of the ARTIST ROOMS Endowment, supported by the Henry Moore Foundation and Tate Members 2017 © Alex Katz
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Alex Katz

Alex Katz