Alex Katz, the son of Russian emigrants, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. A year later, at the beginning of the Depression, his family moved to Queens, a multicultural neighborhood that was growing up thanks to those who fled the first two world wars. His family, lovers of arts and culture, encouraged his interest in them. Thus, Katz entered in 1946 in the prestigious "The Cooper Union Art School" in Manhattan.
His success in studies was rewarded with a scholarship to study at the "Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture" (Maine) in 1949. While teaching at the Cooper Union was more traditional, there he learned to paint from drawing and modern art techniques, in Skowhegan, free drawing and knowledge of life were promoted for personal development. This change in practices and ideas led him to make the key decision: dedicate his life to painting.
At the end of the 50s, Alex Katz's style started to be quite defined. His interest in portrait gained relevance against the collages he made at the beginning of this decade, which he showed in his first exhibition at the Roko Gallery in 1954. His family and friends and especially his wife, Ada, became the main subject of his works, which appeared in flat and very bright colored backgrounds. In this way, Katz would anticipate a future Pop Art and standing aside from the trend of the moment in which American expressionism prevailed.
In the early 1960s, influenced by film, television and advertising, Katz began making his first large-scale paintings. In the middle of this decade grew up his interest in graphic work. Alex Katz became quite prolific and would create multiple limited editions of his works through lithography, engraving or serigraphy. His portraits also achieved more complexity, representing groups of people formed by his friends from the world of poetry or painting. In 1980, Alex Katz incorporated a new theme to his works, fashion, representing models dressed in designer clothes.
With the new century, Alex Katz returns to a subject that had already caught his attention at the beginning of his career: nature. His pictorial development on this theme leads him to the creation of his famous series of flowers. Escaping from landscapes, the artist focuses on the details, on those elements of nature that create it to give them their own prominence. Thus, from the branches of trees, Katz gets to the flowers and with them, the artist finds endless possibilities of colors and shapes that explores in different series.
To date, Alex Katz's work has been shown in more than 200 individual exhibitions worldwide and about 500 collective exhibitions. His work is permanently shown in more than 100 public collections and the awards he has received throughout his career are innumerable.
In 1968, Alex Katz moved to a building belonging to an artistic cooperative, where he lives and works since then.