Alex Katz - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 16, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Milan
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Milan, Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Alex Katz, May 16 - July 15, 2000

  • Literature

    Alex Katz, exh. cat., Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Milan, 2000, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Alex Katz is one of the most prolific and seminal American artists to have emerged since the 1950’s. His stunning portraits of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s “form a new and distinctive type of realism in American art which combines aspects of both abstraction and representation.” (Richard Marshall, Whitney Museum of American Art, curator of Alex Katz: A Retrospective, 1986) Katz’s work is distinctly recognizable due to his cropped, fattened compositions and brilliant use of color. Early on in his career, beginning in the 1950’s, Katz painted landscapes from photographs; as he explained “it was just like painting landscapes – very generalized….. In the ‘90s I went back to large landscapes but I got the idea of making an environmental landscape. Most landscapes are in the distance, so the idea was a wraparound painting – one that wraps around you so that you’re in the landscape.” (Alex Katz in conversation, “Alex Katz on his works, worries and his wife,” New York, 2012). Katz considers his landscape paintings “environmental” and pays avid attention to the shifting light and continuous flux of our natural surroundings. The result is both vividly descriptive and highly distilled in its artistic language of form.

    In the present lot, Harbor II, 1999, the sweeping shoreline of a deeply blue lake envelops the viewer into this almost cinematic scene, while tiny boats are seen bobbing up and down upon the luminously sunlit lake. The beach is speckled with dark brown brushstrokes and the foreground of the crisp blue lake captures the sporadic white waves breaking upon the shore. Like stepping into a sensuous picturesque postcard, the present lot represents Katz’s perfectly rendered holiday scenes. Whether depicting a lake, a cottage, a rowboat, the moon reflecting upon a lake, or swimmers frolicking on a beach, Katz’s simplistic and elegant landscapes convey the tranquility of American coastal scenery refracted through his unique artistic idiom of the late 20th century.


Harbor #2

oil on linen
72 x 96 in. (182.9 x 243.8 cm.)
Signed and titled "Alex Katz Harbor #2" along the overlap.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $281,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 16 May 2014 11am