Alex Katz Revisited, 2014
Oil on linen, 60” x 40
Alex Katz, one of the most significant painters of our time, has been the subject of at least 200 international solo exhibitions. Katz’s portraits are said to be both psychologically complex and emotionally ambivalent. Rob Storr, formerly of the Museum of Modern Art and currently on the faculty of Yale Art Department, says that Alex Katz possesses a quality that can only be defined as unquantifiable “cool.” The crisp, sharp, but cool quality of his work is itself a portrait of the artist. Katz was inspired by Abstract Expressionism and though he was originally an Abstract Expressionist himself, he broke away from the pack and distinguished himself as a representational artist. He often based his work on photographs, but he also worked from life in his portraits and his landscapes. His favorite subject has always been and is still, his wife Ada. He has painted portraits of Ada for over 50 years.
In 1984, I asked Alex Katz if I could paint him and he agreed. I included that portrait in my show “Urban Principals,” at SOMA in 2012. Thirty years later, I once again requested to paint him, this time through his son, Vincent. I am once again grateful that he agreed.