ALEX KATZ: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art

  • /
  • June 17, 2013

  • Email
Alex Katz, b. 1927 The Red Smile, 1963. Oil on canvas, 78 7/8 x 115in. (200.3 x 292.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 83.3 Art © Alex Katz / Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y. Photograph by Bill Orcutt
Alex Katz, b. 1927 Eli, 1963. Oil on canvas, 73 5/8 x 95 5/16in. (187 x 242.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Fischbach 64.37 Art © Alex Katz / Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y. Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

Nassau County Museum of Art presents a solo exhibition of works by Alex Katz, one of America’s most important and honored living artists. Alex Katz: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art opens on June 29 and remains on view through October 13, 2013. This exhibition includes the enormous and brilliantly-colored portraits of family and friends that are a hallmark of the artist’s career as well as early landscapes and collages. The presentation draws upon the Whitney’s extensive holdings of art by Alex Katz.
Since 1951, Alex Katz's work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions throughout this country and internationally. His many honors include two honorary doctorate degrees, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum in New York, a Philip Morris Distinguished Artist Award from the American Academy in Berlin, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art’s Annual Artist of the City Award,
Alex Katz was born in Brooklyn in 1927 and grew up in the St. Albans section of Queens. His Russian parents shared a deep interest in the arts. At Cooper Union’s School of Art, Katz was trained in modern art theories and techniques, later earning a scholarship for study at Maine’s Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture. He has said that Skowhegan’s plein air painting gave him “a reason to devote my life to painting.”
In New York during the 1950s, resisting the dominant abstractionism of the time, Katz associated with other figurative painters, among them Larry Rivers and Fairfield Porter. Toward the latter part of the decade, his work evolved towards greater realism. Katz became increasingly interested in portraiture with monochrome backgrounds, painting his friends and family and especially his wife and muse, Ada. Influenced by panoramic films and billboard advertising during the 1960s, Katz began creating large-scale paintings, often depicting dramatically cropped faces in a style that was to become his artistic signature. The power of Katz’s portraits, said  Dana Miller, Curator, Permanent Collection, of the Whitney Museum of American Art, “…comes from their color and their scale.”    
Nassau County Museum of Art is offering several programs in conjunction with this solo exhibition of works by Alex Katz. Alex Katz: What About Style?, a 56-minute video, is screening daily at 11 a.m., 12 p.m, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The film is free with museum admission. Also free with admission are the daily 2 p.m. exhibition tours as well as lunchtime lectures on Katz’s work offered on July 25, August 22 and September 26. On October 12, the influential art critic Bill Berkson offers insights on Katz’s painting. For details on these and other events, visit
The exhibition was organized in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Alex Katz, b. 1927 Lincolnville Beach, 1956. Oil on canvas, 48 3/16 x 70 5/16in. (122.4 x 178.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the artist 88.49 Art © Alex Katz / Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y. Digital Image © Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

Nassau County Museum of Art is located at 1 Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m.; meet in the lobby, no reservations needed. Tours are free with museum admission. Family art activities and family tours are offered Sundays from 1 pm; free with museum admission. Call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 to inquire about group tours. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students with ID and children aged 4 to 12. Members and children under 4 are admitted free. Parking is free on weekdays. On weekends only, there is a $2 parking fee (members, free). The Periwinkles Café at the Museum is open Friday through Sunday, 11 to 4 p.m. The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (516) 484-9337 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log onto


  • Email

Related Press Releases