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Bukowskis presents Alex Katz at this spring’s Contemporary Art & Design

Alex Katz, 'Cane Garden Bay 2'

The painting ‘Cane Garden Bay 2’ was executed in 1974 and the subject is taken from a trip to the island of Tortola, the main island of the British Virgin Islands in the West Indies. This painting contains all the typical attributes of an important work by Alex Katz: the model Ada, the large format, the bright light, the monochrome colour palette and the absence of action and central perspective. In this near two-dimensional image, Katz has captured Ada in a moment of stillness and contemplation against the azure sea.

One of America's most influential artists, Katz burst onto the New York art scene in the 1950s during the Abstract Expressionist movement, just before the rise of Pop Art. Born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, he attended the Cooper Union School of Art in New York from 1946 to 1949. He then spent two summers at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he was fascinated by the light of Maine. Painting in the open air, 'en plein-air', was to have a major impact on his work.

In 1962, Katz began painting what would become the starting point for his entire future oeuvre: eye-catching, intrusive, and monumental portrait, figure, flower, and landscape paintings, reminiscent of snapshots. At this time, large-scale canvases were associated with abstract painting, not with figurative painting. Katz’s portraits were often executed against a monochrome background. What often characterises these portraits is the absence of action. Katz faced criticism early in his career, with some claiming that his paintings were flat and uninteresting. But they are so much more! They are full of exquisite painterly transitions, often boldly expressionistic, sometimes deeply intense.
Executed in 1974. Oil on linen 122 x 152.5 cm.

Today, at the age of 96, Alex Katz is an ever-present artist whose work has evolved over a lifetime from small intimate paintings to aluminium cut-outs, to eye-catching portraits, landscapes and floral paintings on a monumental scale. In 2023, the major retrospective exhibition 'Alex Katz: Gathering' at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York showcased eight decades of Alex Katz's work. Towards the end of the chronological exhibition was 'Ada's Back 2' from 2021 where Ada is seen from the back, her white hair streaked and shimmering in grey.

'Cane Garden Bay 2' by Alex Katz is one of the many highlights being sold at Bukowskis Contemporary Art & Design this spring.

Contemporary Art & Design
Viewing: April 19 – 23, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Open: weekdays 11 am – 6 pm, weekends 11 am – 4 pm
Auction live: April 24 – 25, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm

To the work
Read more about the auction
› The artist Alex Katz at his home studio in New York, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo: Adrienne Grunwald / NY Times / TT

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