Alex Katz 1927 –
A Guggenheim retrospective of the career of Alex Katz has been in the works for more than a year and has now been scheduled for October 14, 2022 through February 20, 2023. Katz has not had a major survey exhibition since a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1986.
Although he’s a consummate New Yorker, Katz’s works have been more popular in European cities than in New York. He has bucked art trends that have come and gone, and has always painted portraits and landscapes in his distinctive style bold and immediate style.
During the pandemic, Katz traveled to Pennsylvania and then his summer home and studio in Maine, before returning to his studio in SoHo. He continued to work, creating paintings and prints.
Straw Hat Vivien and Vivien with Hat, done in 2021, are recent acquisitions available at VFA. Also available is Alex Katz, a book that contains more than 300 images, edited by Katz’s son, Vincent, with a profile of the artist by art historian Carter Ratcliff, who has studied the life and work of Alex Katz for more than fifty years.
In addition to the upcoming retrospective at the Guggenheim, the works of Alex Katz will be on display at solo exhibits in Paris, Chicago, New York, Maine, Korea, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria.
Ellsworth Kelly 1923 – 2015
Ellsworth Kelly had a profound influence on art in America. He studied technical art and design at the Pratt Institute from 1941-1942 before entering the Army. He worked in the camouflage unit called the Ghost Army, and served in London, Germany and Paris. After his service and two years of study at the Boston Museum of the Fine Arts School, Kelly returned to Paris for six years. Because he was outside of the U.S., he was not influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement that was popular at the time. The artists working in Paris had influence on his style, but it was a visit to the Musée d’Art Moderne that led to his Minimalist style. It was the windows of the museum, more than the paintings, that transformed his perspective. “Painting as I had known it was finished for me.” he said. “Everywhere I looked, everything I saw, became something to be made, and it had to be made exactly as it was, with nothing added.”
Kelly began to make prints in the 1960s. He worked with master printmakers in Paris and New York. Our recent acquisitions are lithographs that he made towards the end of his life.
The Untitled (for Obama) lithograph, of two black curves, was an homage to Barack Obama, who presented Kelly with the National Medal of Arts in 2012.
Lucy Rees. Looking Back at Alex Katz’s Remarkable Seven-Decade Career. Galerie Magazine. December 22, 2020.
Andy Battaglia. Guggenheim Museum to Mount Retrospective for Alex Katz, New York Painter Extraordinaire, in 2022. Artnews. January 17, 2020.
Tom McGlynn. Alex Katz: New Paintings and Sculptures. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2019.
Lou Stoppard. Alex Katz: the ‘artist of the immediate’ on why his time is now. The Financial Times. November 2, 2020.