Our cover this month, Ada in Spain by Alex Katz, sold for $287,500 at Bonhams’ Post-War & Contemporary Art auction on May 16, 2018 in New York City. At 90, Katz has made quite a mark with his works over the years, particularly if you live in his hometown of New York City.
Born to a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn, N.Y., Katz grew up in nearby St. Albans, Queens. His work, which predominantly focuses on portraiture and landscapes, has appeared everywhere from Times Square to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A massive photo-realistic portrait of him also hangs in the new Q train station on East 86th Street in Manhattan, by his friend, the photographer and painter Chuck Close. Last year, Katz revisited his subway sketches from the 1940s as part of New York magazine’s 50th anniversary issue. While a student at Cooper Union, Katz struggled with finishing his sketches during class. To learn to draw faster, he would practice by drawing the scenes on the subway during his commute to school from his parents’ home in Queens.
Katz rose to global prominence in the 1980s, when he began to focus on large-scale paintings. Today, his work can be found on display at public collections worldwide. His long-time beloved wife and muse, Ada Katz, appears more frequently than not in his works, including in a recent exhibition at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City. He continues to work and live in his native city, in the trendy and art-centric SoHo neighborhood.