About This Work:
Alex Katz is an American painter of portraits and landscapes. He started working on these themes during years dominated by non-figurative art, which he always strongly avoided.
He is mostly known for his portraits: the people he depicts are colleagues that surrounded him during his career, members of his family, friends or neighbors.
These portraits do not own a clear narrative – it is not important for the viewer to know the story behind the artwork. What Katz tries to emphasize is actually the beauty of the subjects. The use of gentle colors and the emphasis of a few but significant details turn the coldness of the sharp lines, lack of detail and flatness into an artwork warm for the viewer to enjoy.
The genius of Alex Katz’s style is derived directly from one of Katz’s biggest influences, the Master Japanese woodblock artist Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806), the master of Japanese woodblock color printing. His Japanese aesthetic is typically flat and bi-dimensional. He influenced Katz particularly with his use of partial views and his emphasis on light and shade.
This work, Dog At Duck Trap, it is slightly different from Katz’s portraits. This time, the subject is not a person but an animal.
Sunny is portrayed in a surrounding that is nothing but the coasts of the Duck Trap, a river located in Waldo County, Maine, where Katz still spends his summers.
Alex Katz’s works can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide. Major exhibitions of Katz’s landscape and portrait painting in America and Europe followed his 1986 Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective and 1988 print retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.