Alex Katz

American (born 1927)
Alex Katz East Window 1979 © Alex Katz

Biography

Born 1927
Nationality American

Brooklyn born Katz emerged as a figurative artist when abstract expressionism was the reigning style. He studied at Cooper Union School of Art, New York, from 1946-9, before completing a scholarship in Skowhegen, Maine. While Katz has experimented with collage and printmaking, it is for his distinctive painting style, which pre-empted the birth of Pop Art, that he is best known. Primarily working from life, he produces images in which line and form are expressed through carefully composed strokes and planes of flat colour. He predominantly paints landscapes, portraits and figure compositions. Although he has continued to make small paintings as studies, from the 1960s his work grew in size to a scale more associated with abstract expressionism than realist painting.

Glossary terms

  • Used generally for art that attempts to represent things as they appear. It specifically refers to a mid-19th century movement in France, led by Gustave Courbet, that rejected the sometimes obscure subject matter of academic painting in favour of more accessible scenes of everyday life.