Artist: Alex Katz
Title: Forsythia #2
Medium: Oil on board
Size: 11 3/4" x 9"
Inscription: Signed and dated top right
Condition: Very good quality overall, request a full condition report for details
Documentation: Includes Gallery Certificate of Authenticity
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Alex Katz is a renowned American figurative artist known for his simplified large-scale portraiture and landscape paintings. His paintings are done in a distinctive type of Realism characterized by a flat composition, bright colors, and depictions of ordinary scenes and lived in moments. Some of his recurring subjects include friends, family, fashion, flowers, and ‘environmental landscapes.’ Katz is prolific in oil paintings, collages, prints, drawings, and sculptures of cutout figures.
Katz is often associated with the New York School. However, unlike his fellow contemporaries working in an abstract expressionist style, his painting style adopted a simple and stylized aesthetic. An aesthetic that uses minimal detail and lacks shadows. Additionally, it uses bold contours, blocks of color, and monochrome backgrounds. Furthermore, his technique combines characteristics of abstraction and representation.
Forsythia #2 is a vibrant illustration of the flowering plants mentioned in the title. The oil painting highlights how light falls on flowers. This ‘environmental landscape’ depicts a fleeting moment in nature and captures the vibrant yellows found surrounding the artist’s home in Maine. Landscapes have been a common theme in Katz’s career since the 1950s.
Forsythia #2 includes a gallery certificate of authenticity. The work comes signed and dated on the top right. Furthermore, the artwork is in very good quality overall. Please request a condition report for full details.
Alex Katz Biography
Alex Katz is an American figurative artist renowned for his simplified large-scale portraiture and landscape paintings. Today, art historians consider his distinctive type of realism, characterized by bold simplicity and vibrant colors, a precursor to Pop Art.
Katz was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. Heavily influenced by his parents and their interest in poetry and arts throughout his childhood, he pursued art growing up and eventually as a career. In 1946, Katz attended The Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan and learned Modern art theories and techniques. After graduating in 1949, he received a scholarship to study at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine. There he was exposed to painting from life rather than from other paintings. This exposure to the plein air painting style would be a seminal development of his career, practice, and artistic approach characterized by flatness, bright colors, and depictions of ordinary scenes and lived moments.
From 1955 to 1959, Katz created small collages of figures in landscapes, specifically scenes of New York and Maine. By the late 1950s, his interest in realism and portraiture manifested itself, and he began creating portraits of his friends and his wife and primary muse, Ada. Taking a cue from the visual culture found in films, television, and advertisements, especially billboard signs, Katz's work developed to include large-scale paintings with dramatically cropped faces in the early 1960s. His focus once again evolved in the 1970s when he embraced the social world of painters, poets, critics, and other acquaintances as his subject matter. In the 1980s, Katz embraced fashion and rendered portrait of models and others in designer clothing.
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Katz returned to landscape painting once again. However, his works were now large and embraced a more painterly style. Throughout the 1990s and beginning of the twenty-first century, his paintings highlighted the effect of light on nature as a new focal point. The works created during this period typically showcased light falling through branches. Additionally, he painted large close-ups of induvial or clusters of flowers. At the start of 2010, Katz returned to portraiture utilizing more severe cropping and combined multiple cropped images alluding to filmstrips in his compositions.
Since 1951, Katz's work has exhibited in more than two hundred solo exhibitions and almost five hundred group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Works by Alex Katz can be found in over a hundred public collections worldwide. Some notable American collections include those of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The National Portrait Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Additionally, his work is part of the French National Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Saatchi Collection, and the Tate Modern.