ALEX KATZ (B. 1927)
ALEX KATZ (B. 1927)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
ALEX KATZ (B. 1927)

Golden Field no.3

ALEX KATZ (B. 1927)
Golden Field no.3
signed and dated 'Alex Katz 01' (on the overlap)
oil on canvas
96 x 120 1/8in. (244 x 305cm.)
Painted in 2001
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Paris, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Alex Katz Beachscenes and landscapes, 2002 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Lot Essay

Painted in 2001, Golden Field #3 by Alex Katz captures a gilded idyll. A soft glow suffuses Katz’s gentle landscape, bathing the late afternoon in a warm light which dances across a grassy knoll and leafy trees. Deftly incorporating deep purple tones, Katz depicts the encroaching shadows of night. The air is still, redolent of Maine’s August heat where the artist spends his summers. Katz first travelled to Maine on a scholarship to study at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1949. While at Skowhegan, he and his fellow students went out every morning to paint the landscape; up until then, Katz had worked entirely indoors in a studio while studying at The Cooper Union in New York City. Painting from life was a revelation for the artist who recently reflected, ‘It’s great to be around the trees. When I’m painting, I’m outdoors’ (A. Katz quoted in G. Edgers, ‘Alex Katz discusses exhibit at Colby College, summers in Maine’, Bangor Daily News, 25 July 2015). By applying wet paint to a wet surface, he nimbly translates the play of light on variable surfaces, capturing the mutable glimmers that flicker across the land. Indeed, Golden Field #3 is characteristically slick and glossy, recalling the billboard advertisements that inspired the artist’s earliest canvases.
By learning to paint en plein air, Katz’s compositions are in dialogue with the works of Impressionist artists such Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley. With these artists Katz shares an interest in a metamorphosising light and its effects on ordinary, quotidian subjects. As he has explained, ‘Capturing fast light is like painting the immediate present which, to me, is painting eternity… if you can get into the immediate present, then there’s no past and there’s no future. That’s what the immediate tense is. I always try to get that in my paintings’ (A. Katz interviewed by C. Hazelton, Aesthetica, October 6, 2012). Like his art historical predecessors, Katz too sees the ‘world with golden eyes’ and strives to capture all its manifold beauty, both ephemeral and banal (A. Katz quoted in H. Sheets, ‘At 90, Still Raising the Bar for Himself — and the Other Guys’, New York Times, 3 November 2017, p. C16). Yet the artist does not actually paint from real life; rather, he represents the sensations of an experience, and while his process may reveal a backwards gaze, Katz’s subjects are decidedly contemporary. He shows an image of life refracted through the dispassionate lens of Pop Art: with dazzling colour, flat forms and an economy of line, his paintings embody a Pop aesthetic if not its philosophical concerns. In Golden Field #3, this world is vivid and welcoming, a brilliant evening glow rendered in luminous colour.

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