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Top Selling Alex Katz Paintings at Auctions

  • Alex Katz paintings
  • Alex Katz paintings
  • Alex Katz paintings
  • Alex Katz paintings
July 30, 2016

Alex Katz paintings are widely recognized for their highly stylized aesthetics. As one of the most renowned American artists of his generation, Katz has developed a unique visual language, as a reaction to the Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s. Being highly influenced by cinema, television and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings in the beginning of the 1960s. His paintings are equally divided into the genres of portraiture and landscape. When it comes to portraiture, Katz is known for depicting his muse and wife, Ada Katz, who has been the subject of over 250 portraits throughout his career.

Alex Katz is also often described as precursors to Pop Art.  His imagery is not psychologically complex, and the artist is not interested in narrative. As Katz himself stated once: “(The) one thing I don’t want to do is things already done. As for particular subject matter, I don’t like narratives, basically.” In his own words, Katz focuses on surface. Finally, speaking about his style, Katz bridges the gap between abstraction and figuration.

There are many experts labeling Katz’s art as New Realism, or American Realism, and identifying the influence by American Scene artists in his practice. But, the fact is that Alex Katz has always avoided affiliation with any group or movement. This is how Katz explains his approach: “When you’re working with the tradition of art, you’re usually painting like the paintings you’ve seen; your vision is other people’s vision. You see things through the culture in which you live, and the culture in which you live is always past tense. Some people are always seeing things in another time period. To see things in the present time period, you have to break through, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

Editors’ Tip: Alex Katz (Contemporary Artists (Phaidon)

Alex Katz is based in New York, and he was under heavy influence by American Scene artists, which is visible in many of exhibitions the artist has had. =. Katz is one of the most renowned American contemporary artists, and certainly, one of the most important artists belonging to the figurative art movement. He is best-known is for his distinct portraits of sophisticated, irresistible women, masterfully painted using precise, broad areas of color. He has been exhibited worldwide, at the most recognized museums and galleries in the world. Katz’s work is in the collections of over 100 public institutions worldwide. Throughout his career, Katz has been the recipient of numerous awards, including The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Painting in 1972, and in 1987, and many more.

Scroll down and see the top selling Alex Katz Paintings at auctions!

  • Alex Katz paintings

Black Ada

This is one out of 250 portraits of Ada Katz that her husband Alex created. Ada Katz and Alex married in 1958. She studied at the University of Maryland, and graduated from New York University with an MS in biology in 1955. In 1979, she co-founded the Eye and Ear Theater (a non-profit theatrical production company). Black Ada was sold for $425,000 at Christie’s New York in 2016.

For more information about the artwork, please click here.

  • Alex Katz paintings

Nine A.M.

Nine A.M. was created in 1999. Those were very productive years for Alex Katz, when the artist was claiming that he was painting better than ever before. This painting depicts three subjects relaxing and enjoying on the beach. This painting was sold at Christie’s New York in 2009, for $434,500.

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  • Alex Katz - Harbor 3, detail

Harbor 3

Harbor 3 is a painting committed to the visualization of the moment, free from any narrative elements. The past and the future are irrelevant, as they are already inscribed in the immediate present which Katz tries to translate into the medium of painting. It’s possible to say that the artist’s philosophical approach towards art in general is summarized in this profoundly green artwork. It was sold at Christie’s London in 2005 for $430,690.

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  • Alex Katz - Girl (Back) [courtesy of inavaluable]

Girl (Back)

This painting was executed in 1985, and it depicts the back of a girl. Alex Katz has created dozens of similar paintings. The only difference between them is the color of the hair, the balance between shadow and light. Girl (Back) was sold for $450,000 at Sotheby’s New York in 2007.

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  • Alex Katz - Blue Hat

Blue Hat

Alex Katz´s portraits feature his own social milieu, friends, fellow artists, and most notably his wife Ada, who he has painted more than 200 times. One of the main artist’s goals when it comes to portraits has been to blur the line between painting and object. This Alex Katz painting was sold for $458,500 at Sotheby’s New York in 2010.

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  • Alex Katz - Grey Day, detail

Grey Day

Alex Katz is considered a painter whose oeuvre explores representation on various levels. His work explored the similarities and differences between the real and abstract, blurring – or even erasing – the line in between. As the artist told once: Everything in paint that’s representational is false because it’s not representational, it’s paint. We speak different languages and have different syntax. The way I paint, realistic is out of abstract painting as opposed to abstract style. So I use a line, a form and a color. So my contention is that my paintings are as realistic as Rembrandt’s… This piece was sold for $538,000 at Sotheby’s New York in 2016.

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  • Alex Katz paintings

The Red Scarf (Ada In Polo Coat)

The Red Scarf (Ada In Polo Coat) was executed in 1976. This painting also portraits the artist’s muse and wife, Ada Katz. Those were the years when Katz was using people around him as models. These portraits, such as The Red Scarf resulted in a fascinating social history of his aging circle of artists, poets, writers, and critics. The Red Scarf was sold for $569,000 at Sotheby’s New York in 2014.

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  • Alex Katz - December, detail

December

Casually posed, a man and a woman sit on a leather couch in a softly lit interior. The man in his sweater and tropical shirt stares directly out at the viewer with an assertive expression. Next to him, a woman with a lavender sweater and hand resting her tilted head, staring up and out past the viewer. Both have relaxed into comfortable positions as they listen, watch and wait. This beautiful painting was sold for $605,000 at Christie’s New York in 2016.

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  • Alex Katz - Red Tulips, detail

Red Tulips

Alex Katz is known for his portraitures and landscapes. However, from the 1960s, Katz has been painting flowers, often painted during summer residencies in Maine. The cropped, flattened composition displays a debt to Japanese art. Red Tulips was sold for $690,600 at Sotheby’s New York 2007.

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  • Alex Katz - Blue Umbrella 2

Blue Umbrella #2

This painting is one of the most famous artworks ever made by Alex Katz. This painting also depicts Ada Katz. The paintings by Katz are popular among collectors; however, there is no single one that was sold for price above $1 Million. Blue Umbrella #2 is the most expensive one, and it was sold for $666,000 at Christie’s New York in 2011.

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All Images used for illustrative purposes only