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      Alex Katz Ulla in Black Hat, Lithografie, signiert, nummeriert, Auflage 75 Stück
      01.10.2022 / Alex Katz
      The artist Alex Katz, forerunner of the Pop Art movement.
      The American artist Alex Katz, born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927, is one of the most important Pop Art key figures of our time. The 2007 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, he lives and works in New York and Maine.

      His Russian-born family always instilled in him a great enthusiasm for art. From 1946 Alex Katz studied for three years at the Cooper Union Art School in New York and subsequently attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine from 1949 to 1950. His first solo exhibition at the Roko Gallery, New York in 1954 was a failure – today the artist Alex Katz looks back on more than 200 solo and nearly 500 international group exhibitions.

      The artist Alex Katz / Work

      Alex Katz received a decisive impulse for his artistic work during his summer studies at the Skowhegan School. He was studying modern art in particular at Cooper Union under Morris Kantor. Skowhegan encouraged him to paint from life – according to Alex Katz the reason to dedicate his life to painting.

      Every intelligent guy should paint abstract.

      Ada Del Moro Katz

      A piece of advice from his wife Ada, which the young artist Alex Katz fortunately did not follow. Producing abstract art does not feel right to him, he wants to paint what he sees – just from life. Thus, in the late 1950s, as a reaction to abstract expressionism, he creates the works that make him a key figure of Pop Art: Facial portraits in front of monochrome background transparencies, for which his wife and muse Ada usually sits as a model for him. From the early 1960s, Alex Katz increasingly relied not only on painting but also on Pop Art’s favorite medium, printmaking – which he mastered.


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      In conversation with Alex Katz, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Aug. 27, 2013.

      Timeless beauty and the appearance as a mystery

      His artistic path is varied, but always focuses on the beauty of the motifs: it takes him from the parallel world of fashion design to large-format landscapes and seascapes to flower paintings such as “Yellow Flags” and depictions of dancers as well as nude figures.

      Artist Alex Katz is fascinated by the appearance of the people he paints; for him it is “the greatest mystery” – what it means is irrelevant: “I’m not interested in content”. He makes family and friends the subject of his artworks, using visual techniques borrowed from the advertising and film worlds. The most famous pictures today are certainly the more than 250 portraits of his wife Ada, such as “Ada in Spain” (2018) and “Purple Hat” (2017). The picture Blue Umbrella, which exists as a graphic and also as an original painting, became the most expensive work by the artist sold at auction to date.

      Architecture and city views of his hometown New York, as in Purple Wind or Cityscape, are also an important oeuvre in the work of Alex Katz. In addition to the silkscreen technique, he often uses etching and woodcut, such as in the work Nicole in Red Coat. In october 2022 The Guggenheim Museum in New York opened the extensive retrospective with Alex Katz called “Gathering”.

      Also in 2022 new Alex Katz prints with the titles Straw Hat, Sunrise, Halsey and Grace have been released.

      A new Alex Katz edition print has just been released: Autumn 4 from the year 2023 which is for sale at FRANK FLUEGEL GALERIE. Autumn 4 is the origin of an entire series of editions of the same name, all of which will be re-released in 2024. As well in 2023 a new woodcut with flowers was published: Alex Katz Freesia.

      Alex Katz is an artist of the immediate. As much as people like to project all sorts of meanings onto his artworks, it is, as he says, about the “immediate present” – not about politics or capitalism or commerce or Trump, but about that brief, heavenly, unknowable moment when you look at something without thinking and just see. His images try to capture the flash of light, the visual that hits the eye in that moment. The feeling of looking at someone across a room or on the street and seeing the mouth, the eyes, before recognizing them – as the ex, the colleague, the girl from the movie. Or maybe it’s like the emptiness in your head in the morning when you first wake up, before any memories come to mind. The moment when you “don’t understand the particulars, the details,” as Alex Katz puts it.

      Alex Katz is not remotely interested in the notion of the artist as activist. “We’re in a time of hysterical ‘diversity,’ as it’s called,” he says. Social art, as he calls it, was big when he was in art school, and he is “very hostile to it. Social art to me is particularly sentimental – you tell people what to think. I do stuff with flowers. It’s very abstract, it’s just the opposite. It has nothing to do with making society better.”

      Alex Katz Autumn 4 original print.
      Alex Katz Autumn 4 original print.
      Das Werk Ada in Spain des Künstlers Alex Katz
      Alex Katz / Ada in Spain / 2018

      Other famous works of the artist Alex Katz are:

      Vita / Alex Katz

      • born July 24, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York
      • 1946 – 1949 Studies at the Cooper Union Art School, New York
      • 1949 – 1950 Studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine
      • 1954 First solo exhibition at Roko Gallery, New York
      • 1968 Moved to his present studio and home in SoHo,New York
      • 1972 Guggenheim Fellowship for Painting
      • since 1988 Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
      • 1994 Elected Member (NA) of the National Academy of Design
      • April 2001 Visiting Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin

      Awards / Alex Katz

      • 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award des National Academy Museum, New York
      • 2000 Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award
      • 1985 Queens Museum of Art Award for Lifetime Achievement
      • 1985 Award for Art in Public Places

      Solo Shows / Alex Katz

      • 1986 A traveling retrospective exhibition, The Whitney Museum of American Art
      • 1988 A Print Retrospective, Brooklyn Museum of Art
      • 2014 Zeichnungen, Kartons, Gemälde, Albertina Museum Vienna
      • 2015 Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
      • 2017 Black and White, Tampa Museum of Art
      • 2017 Subway Drawings, Timothy Taylor 16×34, New York
      • 2017 Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s, The Cleveland Museum of Art
      • 2018 Alex Katz, Museum Brandhorst, Munich
      • 2022 Alex Katz Nationalmuseum Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain.
      • 2022 National Museum of Art Osaka, Osaka, Japan.
      • 2022 Alex Katz – Gathering. Guggenheim Museum New York, USA.
      • 2023 Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands.
      • 2023 Yuuhisai Koudoukan, Kyoto, Japan.
      • 2024 Claire, Grass and Water, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
      • 2024 Alex Katz Show – To be announced.

      About the author:

      Frank Fluegel specializes in high-quality original works of art in Pop Art, Street Art as well as Contemporary Art. Since 1999 he runs the FRANK FLUEGEL GALERIE with locations in Nuremberg, Germany and Kitzbuehel, Austria.


      01.10.2022 / Frank Flügel

      Alex Katz /