Alex Katz is an American painter.
His work can be assigned to modern realism and Pop Art. Most of his paintings are portraits, but he also created landscapes and architectural pictures.
Katz was born as the son of Russian Jewish immigrants and grew up in the residential area of St. Albans in Queens, New York. His father was a merchant, his mother a theatre actress. From 1946 to 1949 Alex Katz studied at the Cooper Union Art School in New York, an art academy that emulated the French avant-garde. He then went to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine, until 1950.
His first solo exhibition in 1954 at the Roko Gallery in New York was a failure. In 1960 and 1964 he designed stage sets and costumes for the performances of the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Spoleto Festival. In 1972 he received a Guggenheim Scholarship for painting. In 1994 Alex Katz was elected a member (NA) of the National Academy of Design.
In the same year, the Cooper Union Art School established a visiting professorship, financed with the proceeds from the sale of ten paintings donated by Katz. In April 2001, Alex Katz was a guest scholar at the American Academy in Berlin. Since 1988 he has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Characteristic of Katz's portraits are larger-than-life bust pictures and heads and their simplified, planar, almost stencil-like design, whereby the facial expression is reduced to the essentials, similar to advertising posters.
He lives in New York and Maine.