Alex Katz is an American figurative artist associated with the Pop art movement. In particular, he is known for his paintings, sculptures, and prints and is represented by numerous galleries internationally.
Alex Katz was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. From 1946 to 1949 he studied at The Cooper Union in New York, and from 1949 to 1950 he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. Skowhegan exposed him to painting from life, which would prove pivotal in his development as a painter and remains a staple of his practices today. Katz explains that Skowhegan’s plein air painting gave him “a reason to devote my life to painting.”
He is well known for his large paintings, whose bold simplicity and heightened colours are now seen as precursors to Pop Art. His paintings are defined by their flatness of colour and form, their economy of line, and their cool but seductive emotional detachment. Beginning in the late 1950s, he developed a technique of painting on cut panels, first of wood, then aluminum, calling them "cutouts". These works would occupy space like sculptures, but their physicality is compressed into planes, as with paintings. Katz achieved great public prominence in the 1980s.