An older painter gave me some advice: “Figuration is obsolete and color is French.” I said to myself, “To you, baby.” Actually, I had no idea whether what I was doing was going to find an audience, but my instincts told me there was no other way for me.” — Alex Katz
Whenever we have the opportunity to acquire the work of Alex Katz, we go for it. One of the most skilled artists in America, Katz’s work is owned by public galleries spanning the globe from New York to Vienna to Japan.
His paintings and prints can be found in such prestigious venues as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Japan.
The focus of our acquisitions are his silkscreens, woodcuts, aquatints and linocuts, which are fine examples of his masterful use of color and design. Katz has been creating art for over sixty years. He calls his work “reductive” which is an oversimplification of what he does.
Each piece has clean and simple lines of design, but the composition and colors, especially the colors in his silkscreens, are complex.
We still have a few examples of Alex Katz’s work at Vertu:
Late Summer Flowers
A great example of Katz’s amazing use of color is his 30-color silkscreen, Late Summer Flowers. Using both subtle and contrasting colors during the screen process take expertise that only a master, like Katz, can achieve.
The impact of White Roses, comes not only from it’s size (over 7 feet long and 3-and-a-half feet wide) but also from the flow of design and layer of colors that appear simple but are a complex 16-color silkscreen.
Black Hat IV
The three faces and three hats that make up the composition of Black Hat IV, are another example of the impact of Katz’s work. The clean lines, and profusion of black against yellow, makes this large, 68-color screen print one of Katz’s most powerful works.
Diana, Sophia, Sarah, Vivien and Ada in Bathing Cap
Katz’s wife, Ada, has been his model and muse since 1957. Ada in Bathing Cap,
like his other portraits, is both an intimate, yet detached, look at his subject.
Unlike the other portraits in our gallery, which are silk screens, Diana is a linocut, and another example of Katz’s impressive use of color and design.
More About Alex Katz
Katz has worked and lived in his New York studio since 1968. The studio was featured in Architectural Digest in 2012. He began his art education at Woodrow Wilson High School in Queens, went on to study at Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan and then received a scholarship for summer study at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine.
Katz’s body of work has garnered him such prestigious awards as the Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award, an induction into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pratt Institute’s Mary Buckley Award, the Queens Museum of Art Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Chicago Bar Association Award for Art in Public Places.
We encourage you to come into Vertu to see the work of this remarkable American artist.