Alex Katz (b. 1927)
Liz and Rose
signed and dated 'Alex Katz '84' (on the reverse)
oil on shaped aluminum
71 3/4 x 44 in. (182.2 x 111.8 cm.)
Painted in 1984.
Robert Miller Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
New York, Robert Miller Gallery, Alex Katz: Recent Cutouts, March 1985 (illustrated on the cover of the exhibition announcement).

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Jennifer Yum
Jennifer Yum

Lot Essay

Quintessentially American figure painter Alex Katz’s impressive oeuvre encompasses sixty years of lush portraiture. Capturing family, artists, writers and members of New York City society, Katz’s paintings are defined by their cool, seductive deadpan, exacting technique, and sun-drenched Pop palette. Since the 1950s, Katz has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions worldwide; his work can be found in more than 100 public collections. He is one of the most recognized and celebrated artists of his generation.

Katz counts film, television and billboard ads as decisive influences-- focusing on style over narrative, he has always painted from life. His confident, singular style, which predated American Pop, has remained steadfast over the years. A downtown luminary who has painted supermodels like Christy Turlington and Kate Moss, posed for the J. Crew catalog, and created artwork for W magazine, Katz—like Warhol—seamlessly bridges the gap between art and fashion. His artworks are both timeless in their aesthetic consistency and relation to the history of figurative painting, and firmly rooted in the moment of their rendering due to his use of live models. They bear a connection with the greats of American painting- from Georgia O’Keefe and Fairfield Porter to Ralston Crawford and Edward Hopper.

Katz began painting on cut panels in the late 1950s—first wood, then aluminum. The resulting works have a unique presence- sculptural, coupled with the compressed physicality of painting. Liz and Rose is a larger than life aluminum cut-out of two women postured in swim attire- with their tidy one-piece bathing suits, svelte figures, manicured nails, glossy, tawny skin and sporty swim caps, they evoke the ladies-who-lunch waiting for their aqua aerobics, or suburban mothers watching children at play, posed mid-gossip. Katz delights in the bleached, butter-baked palettes of his beach scenes, which seem to evoke a startling synesthesia- sun browned wet skin, the cling of a bathing suit, the smell of a plastic cap-- the enticing bouquet of August, with its waft of sunscreen and salt.

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