Artist, New York
Philip Morris Fellow - Class of Spring 2001
Alex Katz was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. In 1946, he entered The Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan, where he studied painting under Morris Kantor and was trained in Modern art theories and techniques. Upon graduating, in 1949, Katz was awarded a scholarship for summer study at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine. His first one-person show was held at the Roko Gallery, in 1954. Since then, Katz’s work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions internationally. 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. These exhibitions include: Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1995), Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia (1996), P.S. 1/Institute for Contemporary Art, New York (1997-1998), the Saatchi Gallery, London (1998), Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Trento (1999), and Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn (2002). A retrospective of Katz’s print work was held at the Albertina museum in Vienna in 2010 and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in April of 2012.
Works by Alex Katz can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide. Most notably, those in America include: Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Brooklyn Museum; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Des Moines Art Center; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Additionally, Katz’s work can be found in the Albertine Graphische Sammelung (Austria), the Atenium Taidemuso (Finland), the Sara Hildén Art Museum (Finland), the Bayerische Museum (Germany), the Berardo Collection (Portugal), the Essl Collection (Austria), the French National Collection, the Israel Museum, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez (Spain), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Japan), Museum Moderne Kunst (Austria), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Spain), the Nationalgalerie (Germany), the Saatchi Collection (England), and the Tate Gallery (England), among others.
In 2007, Katz was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, New York. In 2005, he was the honored artist at the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Inaugural Richard Gray Annual Visual Arts Series. The same year, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York— his second Honorary Doctorate, following one from Colby College, Maine, in 1984. Katz was named the Philip Morris Distinguished Artist at the American Academy in Berlin in 2001 and received the Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award in 2000. In addition to this honor from Cooper Union, in 1994, his alma mater created the Alex Katz Visiting Chair in Painting with the endowment provided by the sale of ten paintings donated by the artist. Katz was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Painting in 1972 and was inducted by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1988. In 1987 he was the recipient of the Pratt Institute’s Mary Buckley Award for achievement and also received the Queens Museum of Art Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Chicago Bar Association honored Katz with the Award for Art in Public Places in 1985. In 1978, Katz received the US Government grant to participate in an educational and cultural exchange with the USSR.