Alex Katz U.S.A., b. 1928
"I like to make an image that is so simple you can't avoid it, and so complicated you can't figure it out" - Alex Katz
In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces. In 1965, he also embarked on a prolific career in printmaking. Katz would go on to produce many editions in lithography, etching, silkscreen, woodcut and linoleum cut. After 1964, Katz increasingly portrayed groups of figures. He would continue painting these complex groups into the 1970s, portraying the social world of painters, poets, critics, and other colleagues that surrounded him. He began designing sets and costumes for choreographer Paul Taylor in the early 1960s, and he has painted many images of dancers throughout the years.
Beginning in 2010, Katz re-framed his subject matter, employing more drastic cropping of individual portraits. He also began composing multiple portraits using tightly cropped images of the same subject sequenced across the linen. Since 2015, Katz has frequently begun his process by taking photographs with his iPhone, which he then prints out, cuts, and collages into compositions. From these maquettes, he may make painted studies or go straight to making a large-scale cartoon, from which he paints an oil on linen. During an extended stay in Pennslyvania from spring through early summer of 2020, Katz made more than 50 paintings, mainly of flowers and landscapes he saw around him.