Alex Katz
July 24, 1927
Artist Biography
Acquisition Number: 84.53
Medium: Silkscreen and photoscreen on paper
Size: 25 1/2" x 28 1/4"
Date: 1968
Credit: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. O'Sickey

Since the late 1950s, Katz and his wife Ada have spent every summer at “the Yellow House”—a 200-year-old farmhouse in Maine that the artist painted a distinctive shade of yellow. Katz’s own association with Maine began several years earlier, when he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in the summer of 1949. It was at Skowhegan, he said, that "I tried plein air (outdoor) painting and found my subject matter and a reason to devote my life to painting." Having painted on-site in Maine for over fifty years, Katz has employed nearly every aspect of the property as a subject for his art—the surrounding fields, trees, and flowers, the house, the pond, the swimming raft and dock, the artist’s canoe, and even a wooden picnic table have inspired the artist’s distinctive, critically praised paintings. "Natural light in Maine," Katz once explained, "is richer and darker than the light in Impressionist paintings; it helped me separate myself from European painting and find my own eyes." Katz created his first series of flower paintings in 1966 in an effort to depict a sense of movement that he believed was missing from his celebrated group portraits. Whatever he’s painting, he treats his subjects with the same simple form and aloof detachment that has garnered him wide popular appeal and success.