Alex Katz: 45 Years of Portraits

As a mini break from the craziness that is Paris Fashion Week, I ventured out to the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin to attend the press preview for the exhibit of world-renowned American artist, Alex Katz. Titled, “45 Years of Portraits,” it showcases a collection of 100 works of art from 1964-2014.

Women in Jackets, 1996 oil on aluminum

Women in Jackets, 1996 oil on aluminum

Entering the gallery, the images immediately pop out against the white walls, complementing the monochrome backgrounds of Katz’s paintings. The first pieces displayed are a series of cutout panels from 1996 entitled “Women in Jackets.” Cutouts, freestanding sculptures and paintings have become staples in his work. When asked about the idea behind the cutouts, Katz said it “stemmed from the idea of life-size paintings.” This piece, and the exhibit in general convey the themes of the figure and gestures.

Katz has many inspirations including dance, television, advertising, family, but most importantly his wife, Ada. She has been the subject of numerous paintings for the past 50 years and even accompanied him to the exhibit this week. On the other side, Katz has been a great source of inspiration in the fashion world. He has painted various models, a portrait of Vogue Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour, and inspired Prada’s Spring 2014 collection. His portrayal of clothing on his figures and portraits reflect the time period and the identities of the subjects. In the exhibit catalogue, Suzy Menkes, International New York Times Style Editor, describes Katz as “a painter who gives clothes shape and place.”

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour


Prada Spring 2014

Prada Spring 2014

Open until July 12th, Katz’s exhibit proves to be an incredible look into the work of a legendary artist and is definitely something you won’t want to miss!

By: Julianne Bagley

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