Opening: 16 February 2013, 6 pm
Exhibition: 16 February - 30 March
Monica De Cardenas Gallery in Zuoz is delighted to announce an exhibition of recent paintings by Alex Katz, as a prelude to his retrospective exhibitions that will take place in the Swiss museums Haus Konstruktiv in Zürich and Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts in Lausanne in March. We will present the more intimate side of the great painter’s work: his small paintings or “oil sketches”, preparatory studies in oil on board, often painted directly in front of the model or “en plain air”, they contain the first idea for the large canvases. Here his brush strokes are spontaneous, loose and free, before becoming more stylized in the large paintings.
American artist Alex Katz is one of the leading figurative painters of our time. Since the 1960s he has developed a highly innovative realist style unlike any of his contemporaries. His landscapes and figures excel in their simplicity of line, form and colour. His brushwork is light and confident, the compositions subtle and simple, the dimensions majestic. Katz creates powerful images. With his huge canvases, selective palette and two-dimensional surfaces he creates paintings that have both realistic and abstract elements and refuse to allow themselves to be pigeonholed.
Having appeared on the American artistic scene at the end of the ‘50s, the years of Abstract Expressionism, and being a contemporary of Pop Art and the subsequent artistic movements, Katz surprisingly managed to reconcile the abstract movement with realism in US post war art, in a style that he himself defines as “totally American”. The images are essential, luminous, direct and sharp, showing very intense colour planes, rendered in a particular bidimensional perspective, free of any sentimental connotation and yet able to communicate a profound emotional involvement.
Alex Katz was born in New York in 1927 as the son of Russian – Jewish immigrants and studied painting at the Cooper Union School of Art from 1946 to 1949. After his first solo show at the Roko Gallery in New York in 1954, he began to work on drawings and collages, turning to portraits in 1957 and to large size paintings in 1962, after moving to his new studio in Soho. His first retrospective exhibition was held at the Utah Museum of Fine Art. After that he showed regularly in American museums and galleries. In 1986 the Whitney Museum of American Art showed a large-scale retrospective and in 1997 the MoMA PS1 Museum in New York organized the exhibition “Alex Katz Under the Stars: American Landscapes 1951-1995”.
The work of Alex Katz is widely represented at museum in the USA, including MoMA, the Metropolitan and the Whitney in New York, as well as in European Museums, like Tate Modern in London, the MMK in Frankfurt, the Albertina in Vienna and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.