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Alex Katz - Cartoons - Exhibitions - Lopez de la Serna CAC

Alex Katz is recognized as one of the most important artists in America today, but his work did not gain international exposure until the 1970s, and his influence has made itself felt since the end of the 1980s. Starting from the “all-over painting” of Abstract Expressionism, he followed an idiosyncratic course towards figurative painting before the rise of Minimalism and Pop Art. Katz uses a large-scale, iconic approach to portray aspects of New York’s artistic and cultural scene, the life of its comfortable classes, and the leisure and consumer society of his time. Drawing is an integral part of his working method, allowing him to observe light, adjust his design, balance the composition, establish an appropriate scale and create a state of mind, to achieve the cool aesthetic of the present moment in his paintings.

Alex Katz - Cartoons - Exhibitions - Lopez de la Serna CAC

The term “cartoon” derives from the Italian "cartone", referring to a type of rigid paper often used to transfer the main outlines of a composition to a blank canvas by means of pricking the lines and then “pouncing” or dabbing coloured powder through the pin-pricks. Katz is one of the few contemporary painters still using what is essentially a Renaissance technique to create his pictures. In the cartoons we can enjoy the natural appeal of a product that is inherently utilitarian but which we can also see to possess an uninhibited grace and elegance without pretensions. Comprehending form and structure through the final confirmation of the profile, shading, proportion brings it to a complete integraton of the painted and drawn elements in the finished works, carried through in a single, intense impulse.

Alex Katz - Cartoons - Exhibitions - Lopez de la Serna CAC

These drawings, with their perforated contours, are wonderful witnesses to their single function as working tools. Each cartoon establishes the basic lines of the composition before they are transferred to a canvas of the same size and transformed into the dazzling colours that characterise Katz’s painting. Although the cartoon is a preliminary template, part of the process in the creation of a painting, Katz sees them as finished documents with their own artistic meaning: portraits structured in two dimensions related to effects of light and volume, compositions where the technique forces him to refine to a few details and surfaces, where the resonance of the paper’s empty space is comparable to the monochromatic areas of his paintings, as we can see in the recent canvases included in the exhibition.

Alex Katz - Cartoons - Exhibitions - Lopez de la Serna CAC

Katz attributes much of his process in painting to instinct, but this spontaneity does not preclude meticulous planning of his work. Its two-dimensionality and schematized design, its distancing and subtle simplicity are fully developed in the contours of his drawings and cartoons with their distinctive overlays, parallel lines and corrections that are left behind in his search for the perfect form. These cartoons, though never created to be exhibited, produce a stange artistic effect on account of the chalk dust that is pounced on the charcoal, and the blurred image that results has an unexpected and striking beauty. The liveliness of the underlying expressive line is retained, minimized and perfected through the various transfer techniques into the gestural style of the paintings.

Installations Views

Installations Views Thumbnails
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Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Alex Katz. Double Portrait, 1987

Double Portrait, 1987

Chalk and charcoal on paper

223 x 152,5 cm / 88 x 60 in

Alex Katz. Big Red Smile, 1993

Big Red Smile, 1993

Chalk and charcoal on paper

117 x 93,5 cm / 46 x 36.81 in

 

Alex Katz. Elizabeth, 2012

Elizabeth, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

77,5 x 123 cm / 30.51 x 48.43 in

Alex Katz. Katherine and Elizabeth, 2012

Katherine and Elizabeth, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122 x 289 cm / 48 x 113.78 in

 

Alex Katz. Red Hat (Ada) 1, 2013

Red Hat (Ada) 1, 2013

Chalk and charcoal on paper

213 x 152,5 cm / 83.86 x 60 in

Alex Katz. Vivien (Eyes Closed), 2004

Vivien (Eyes Closed), 2004

Chalk and charcoal on paper

173,5 x 87,5 cm / 68.31 x 34.45 in

Alex Katz. Vivien, 2009

Vivien, 2009

Chalk and charcoal on paper

152,5 x 213 cm / 60 x 83.86 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada with Straw Hat, 2010

Ada with Straw Hat, 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

102,5 x 128 cm / 40.35 x 50.39 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2012

Ada, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

126 x 107,5 cm / 49.61 x 42.32 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada Ada, 1991

Ada Ada, 1991

Chalk and charcoal on paper

155 x 122 cm / 61 x 48 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2008

Ada, 2008

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122,5 x 168 cm / 48 x 66 in

Alex Katz. Kristen, 2005

Kristen, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

214 x 153 cm / 84.25 x 60.24 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2009

Ada, 2009

Chalk and charcoal on paper

167,5 x 122 cm / 66 x 48 in

 

Alex Katz. Black Hat (Oona), 2010

Black Hat (Oona), 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

152 x 213 cm / 59.84 x 83.86 in

 

Alex Katz. Visor, 2003

Visor, 2003

Chalk and charcoal on paper

125,5 x 243 cm / 49.41 x 95.67 in

 

Alex Katz. Kenitta, 2005

Kenitta, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122 x 183 cm / 48 x 72 in

 

Alex Katz. Big Red Smile, 1994

Big Red Smile, 1994

Chalk and charcoal on paper

153,5 x 124 cm / 60.43 x 48.82 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2007

Ada, 2007

Chalk and charcoal on paper

168,5 x 122,5 cm / 66.34 x 48.23 in

Alex Katz. Jessica, 2005

Jessica, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122,5 x 243 cm / 48.23 x 95.67 in

 

Alex Katz. Nude 2, 2010

Nude 2, 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

103 x 127 cm / 40.55 x 50 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2005

Ada, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

121,5 x 183 cm / 47.83 x 72 in

 

Alex Katz. Vivien, 2007

Vivien, 2007

Chalk and charcoal on paper

183 x 92 cm / 72 x 36.22 in

 

Alex Katz. Phoebe, 2005

Phoebe, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122 x 242,5 cm / 48 x 95.47 in

 

Alex Katz. Red Hat (Ariel) , 2013

Red Hat (Ariel), 2013

Chalk and charcoal on paper

213,5 x 152,5 cm / 84 x 60 in

Alex Katz. Bathing Cap (Ada), 2010

Bathing Cap (Ada), 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

102,5 x 127 cm / 40.35 x 50 in

 

Alex Katz. Vivien, 2012

Vivien, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

101,5 x 127 cm / 40 x 50 in

 

Alex Katz. Eleuthera 4, 1984

Eleuthera 4, 1984

Chalk and charcoal on paper

205 x 122 cm / 80.71 x 48 in

 

Alex Katz. Eleuthera, 1984

Eleuthera, 1984

Chalk and charcoal on paper

342 x 167,5 cm / 134.65 x 66 in

 

Alex Katz. Eleuthera, 1984

Eleuthera, 1984

Chalk and charcoal on paper

325 x 167,5 cm / 128 x 66 in

 

Alex Katz. Harbor 8, 1999

Harbor 8, 1999

Chalk and charcoal on paper

181,5 x 230 cm / 71.5 x 90.55 in

Alex Katz. Ada with Hands Behind Head

Ada with Hands Behind Head

Chalk and charcoal on paper

153 x 223 cm / 60.24 x 87.8 in

Alex Katz. Ada, 2007

Ada, 2007

Chalk and charcoal on paper

231 x 152 cm / 91 x 60 in

 

Alex Katz. Man in White Shirt, 1995

Man in White Shirt, 1995

Chalk and charcoal on paper

183,5 x 87 cm / 72.24 x 34.25 in

 

Alex Katz. Double Portrait, 1987

Double Portrait, 1987

Chalk and charcoal on paper

223 x 152,5 cm / 88 x 60 in

Alex Katz. Big Red Smile, 1993

Big Red Smile, 1993

Chalk and charcoal on paper

117 x 93,5 cm / 46 x 36.81 in

 

Alex Katz. Elizabeth, 2012

Elizabeth, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

77,5 x 123 cm / 30.51 x 48.43 in

Alex Katz. Katherine and Elizabeth, 2012

Katherine and Elizabeth, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122 x 289 cm / 48 x 113.78 in

 

Alex Katz. Red Hat (Ada) 1, 2013

Red Hat (Ada) 1, 2013

Chalk and charcoal on paper

213 x 152,5 cm / 83.86 x 60 in

Alex Katz. Vivien (Eyes Closed), 2004

Vivien (Eyes Closed), 2004

Chalk and charcoal on paper

173,5 x 87,5 cm / 68.31 x 34.45 in

Alex Katz. Vivien, 2009

Vivien, 2009

Chalk and charcoal on paper

152,5 x 213 cm / 60 x 83.86 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada with Straw Hat, 2010

Ada with Straw Hat, 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

102,5 x 128 cm / 40.35 x 50.39 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2012

Ada, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

126 x 107,5 cm / 49.61 x 42.32 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada Ada, 1991

Ada Ada, 1991

Chalk and charcoal on paper

155 x 122 cm / 61 x 48 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2008

Ada, 2008

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122,5 x 168 cm / 48 x 66 in

Alex Katz. Kristen, 2005

Kristen, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

214 x 153 cm / 84.25 x 60.24 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2009

Ada, 2009

Chalk and charcoal on paper

167,5 x 122 cm / 66 x 48 in

 

Alex Katz. Black Hat (Oona), 2010

Black Hat (Oona), 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

152 x 213 cm / 59.84 x 83.86 in

 

Alex Katz. Visor, 2003

Visor, 2003

Chalk and charcoal on paper

125,5 x 243 cm / 49.41 x 95.67 in

 

Alex Katz. Kenitta, 2005

Kenitta, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122 x 183 cm / 48 x 72 in

 

Alex Katz. Big Red Smile, 1994

Big Red Smile, 1994

Chalk and charcoal on paper

153,5 x 124 cm / 60.43 x 48.82 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2007

Ada, 2007

Chalk and charcoal on paper

168,5 x 122,5 cm / 66.34 x 48.23 in

Alex Katz. Jessica, 2005

Jessica, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122,5 x 243 cm / 48.23 x 95.67 in

 

Alex Katz. Nude 2, 2010

Nude 2, 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

103 x 127 cm / 40.55 x 50 in

 

Alex Katz. Ada, 2005

Ada, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

121,5 x 183 cm / 47.83 x 72 in

 

Alex Katz. Vivien, 2007

Vivien, 2007

Chalk and charcoal on paper

183 x 92 cm / 72 x 36.22 in

 

Alex Katz. Phoebe, 2005

Phoebe, 2005

Chalk and charcoal on paper

122 x 242,5 cm / 48 x 95.47 in

 

Alex Katz. Red Hat (Ariel) , 2013

Red Hat (Ariel), 2013

Chalk and charcoal on paper

213,5 x 152,5 cm / 84 x 60 in

Alex Katz. Bathing Cap (Ada), 2010

Bathing Cap (Ada), 2010

Chalk and charcoal on paper

102,5 x 127 cm / 40.35 x 50 in

 

Alex Katz. Vivien, 2012

Vivien, 2012

Chalk and charcoal on paper

101,5 x 127 cm / 40 x 50 in

 

Alex Katz. Eleuthera 4, 1984

Eleuthera 4, 1984

Chalk and charcoal on paper

205 x 122 cm / 80.71 x 48 in

 

Alex Katz. Eleuthera, 1984

Eleuthera, 1984

Chalk and charcoal on paper

342 x 167,5 cm / 134.65 x 66 in

 

Alex Katz. Eleuthera, 1984

Eleuthera, 1984

Chalk and charcoal on paper

325 x 167,5 cm / 128 x 66 in

 

Alex Katz. Harbor 8, 1999

Harbor 8, 1999

Chalk and charcoal on paper

181,5 x 230 cm / 71.5 x 90.55 in

Alex Katz. Ada with Hands Behind Head

Ada with Hands Behind Head

Chalk and charcoal on paper

153 x 223 cm / 60.24 x 87.8 in

Alex Katz. Ada, 2007

Ada, 2007

Chalk and charcoal on paper

231 x 152 cm / 91 x 60 in

 

Alex Katz. Man in White Shirt, 1995

Man in White Shirt, 1995

Chalk and charcoal on paper

183,5 x 87 cm / 72.24 x 34.25 in