Alex Katz, is an American painter and printmaker that was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927. In 1946, Katz entered The Cooper Union Art School where he graduated from in 1949 and was, then awarded a scholarship to study at the Skowhegan School. While Cooper Union taught him to paint from drawings, Skowhegan encouraged him to paint from life, which would prove pivotal in his development as a painter and remains a staple of his practices today.
In the late 1950s, he made a decision to attempt greater realism in his paintings. He became increasingly interested in portraiture and painted his friends and in particular his wife and muse, Ada. He also, began using monochrome backgrounds, which would become a defining characteristic of his style, anticipating Pop Art and separating him from gestural figure painters and the New Perceptual Realism. In the late 1980s and 1990s, Katz shifted his focus towards large landscape paintings, which centered around the conception of a landscape, trying to find the image in nature afterwards. In these paintings, he loosened the edges of the forms, executing the works with greater painterliness than before in these allover canvases.
Katz has admitted to destroying a thousand paintings during his first ten years as a painter in order to find his style.
Alex Katz's work has been the subject of more than 250 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions internationally since 1951 and his works can be found in over 100 public collections including, The Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.