35.5 х 24.1 х 1 in. (90.17 x 61.21 x 2.54 cm.)
Foundry/Publisher Printed by Steve Poleskie, Chiron Press, New York; Published by Paris Review, New York
This rare early screenprint was created in 1965-66 for The Paris Review, which commissioned a group of major contemporary artists to compose a series of prints to publicize the magazine and provide financial support for its literary endeavors. Twenty-three artists— among them Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell as well as Alex Katz—donated signed and limited editions of original work. Years later, artists like Louise Bourgeois and Ed Ruscha would participate, and Alex Katz would go on to create another print for the series. But the one offered here is his very first from the mid-Sixties - an uncommon, long sold out edition.
Katz' screenprint "Paris Review" has superb provenance. It is in its original frame which bears the label of the prestigious Fischbach Gallery, Katz' longtime dealer throughout the Sixties and early Seventies, before he moved to Marlborough. "Paris Review" is reproduced as a dramatic full page plate in the catalogue raisonne of the artist's works on paper entitled: "Alex Katz: the Complete Prints" by Nicholas Maravell. (plate 11). In the Artist's notes section, Katz states, "Every print I made, I wanted to try something different, a different technical device..[with this work] I used tusche on the bottom for the letters and all the rest was done with a photoscreen. That was a new toy."
The print is based on a 1964-65 oil and linen painting of Alex Katz' entitled "Smile Again". (Alex Katz by Ratcliff/Storr/Blazwick, Phaidon, 2006, p. 203)
Alex Katz first emerged on the New York art scene during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism and before the birth of Pop art, but always worked independently of these movements. However, what's fascinating about this particular print is how -- perhaps subconsciously- Katz seems to directly address Andy Warhol's famous painting "Before and After" - more commonly referred to as the Nose Job from the early Sixties, which had already been widely exhibited at the time Katz made this print. The parallel is unmistakeable; but with Katz, the woman's imperfect profile is celebrated unapologetically in all its beauty and naturalism. (For reference only is an installation of Warhol's famous "Before and After".)
Alex Katz is best known for his distinctive portraits of sophisticated, irresistible women, masterfully painted using precise, broad areas of color. Alongside these unmistakably ‘Katzian’ female portraits are pictures of men, groups, landscapes and interiors, rendered in paint on canvas or metal cut-outs as well as drawing and collage. All attest to the artist’s attention to detail, economy of means and consummate technique.
In 1983, the Brooklyn Museum organized a retrospective dedicated solely to Alex Katz' prints, and a major touring retrospective of his entire oeuvre was organized by New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art in 1986. Katz has exhibited widely all over the world. His works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; and the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, among many others.
With an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston entitled "Alex Katz Prints" that opened on April 28, 2012, interest in his work has increased tremendously. As the subject of over 200 solo exhibitions internationally,he has truly established a permanent place in the contemporary canon.
For fans, collectors and dealers of Alex Katz, this is quintessential, vintage Katz with superb provenance - a must have for your print collection. This is an Artists Proof, consigned by Katz himself to his original dealer, Fischbach Gallery in 1966.