12. Alex Katz

Alex Katz b. 1927, Brooklyn, New York Amanda and Kyle, Oil on linen, 2016 The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art Gift of Barbara '68 and Theodore '68 Alfond Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College 2017.6.3

In his 1997 autobiography, Invented Symbols, Alex Katz describes Maine’s light as “richer and darker than the light in Impressionist paintings.” Furthermore, Katz continued, “Being able to see Maine’s light helped separate me from European paintings and find my own eyes.”
Like many American artists such as George Bellows and Marsden Hartley, Alex Katz developed an affinity for the state of Maine. He bought a home there—a yellow farmhouse—that has been a home and studio to him for many decades. Katz’s subjects are often quite close to him. His wife, Ada, son, and daughter in law have figured prominently in his work. Here the artist portrays his studio assistant, Amanda, and her boyfriend, Kyle. He plays with flat planes of color and though his works are representational, they often have an abstract sensibility. The artist, as exemplified by the work here, favors large-scale canvases. The artist splits his time between New York and Maine. His works are found in major institutions across the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Colby College Museum of Art, a repository for many of his works.