American figurative artist Alex Katz is perhaps best known for his large-scale portraits which became seen as precursors to Pop Art.


Katz was born in Brooklyn to Russian émigré parents on July 24, 1927. He began drawing with his father from a young age, and decided he wanted to study art. From 1946 and 1950, Katz was enrolled at the Cooper Union in New York, where he was taught by Morris Kantor, and later studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine where he learned to paint from life and developed his own highly stylised aesthetic.

10th Street

During the mid-1950s, Katz became involved with the second generation of New York School painters such as Jane Freilicher, Fairfield Porter and Larry Rivers. He was also friends with leading poets such as John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara. During this period, Katz made collages of figures in landscapes alongside his paintings, influenced by his time in Maine as well as the views of New York state. These landscapes are all rendered in the same flat style which has become synonymous with his name.

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