Alex KATZ (1927)
Alex Katz was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1928 the family moved to St. Albans, Queens. From 1946 to 1949 he studied at The Cooper Union in New York, and from 1949 to 1950 he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. Skowhegan exposed him to painting from life, which would prove pivotal in his development as a painter and remains a staple of his practices today. Katz explains that Skowhegan’s plein air painting gave him “a reason to devote my life to painting.”  Katz has admitted to destroying a thousand paintings during his first ten years as a painter in order to find his style. Since the 1950s, he worked to create art more freely in the sense that he tried to paint “faster than [he] can think.” His works seem simple, but according to Katz they are more reductive, which is fitting to his personality.
Ada Katz, whom he married in 1958, has been the subject of numerous portraits throughout his career. In 1960, Katz had his first (and only) son, Vincent Katz. A summer resident of Lincolnville, Maine since 1954, he has developed a close relationship with local Colby College. The college presented him with an honorary doctorate in 1984 and in October 1996, the Colby College Museum of Art opened a wing dedicated to Katz that features more than 400 oil paintings, collages, and prints donated by the artist.
His first one-person show came in 1954: an exhibition of paintings at the Roko Gallery in New York. In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces. In 1965, he also embarked on a prolific career in printmaking. Katz would go on to produce many editions in lithography, etching, silkscreen, woodcut and linoleum cut, producing over 400 print editions in his lifetime. The Albertina, Vienna, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, hold complete collections of Katz print oeuvre. A print catalogue raisonné is due for release by the Albertina in the fall of 2011.