Cutts, Gatsby for painting

Alex Katz is Gatsby to paint and color in a party. It does not matter if the celebration is a room in the community, the landscape in the open air and from the window where the light can be heard and unseen birds in the background or if it is hosted by an invisible house of mirrors in which the identity is fragmented in echoes to decipher the mystery of self among them . In each of these forty areas of Spain’s first art retrospective, this New Yorker pop is a spectator of history happening on the Times Square scale who, meanwhile, loses himself to noticing and telling us that happiness is the imagination of the moment.


Alex Katz: The Cocktail Party, 1965

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Katz expresses the imagination (New York, 1927) through the infinite fullness of color and the cultural construction of the face that results from combining the aesthetic appearance of the mask with the real state of his friends to create a play of the self, and the existential conception of island beings. Characters reminiscent of Fitzgerald but also Truman Capote, and Hopper’s screenplays or Eric Romer’s prose films of their dry, everyday scenes, without precedents or hidden narratives, populated by lonely men and women and idealized as stereotypes of iconic beauty, sometimes absorbing the thrill of melancholy, exemplifying a bohemian-success idyllic category that pumps propaganda and desire.

selling by pieces

Five annotated panels


Round Hill, 1977. The boucholas choreography whose background is the semantic richness of the relationship between the characters, determined by the body language of the characters representing their position and role within the group, and by the disguised looks in sunglasses that follow the shadowy diagonals that are barely visible. Meets. Equally important, almost as a key to painting, is the character on the fringes of the intuitive dialogue and focus on reading a book by Shakespeare, perhaps conveying his emotional opposition from the collective scene or the symbolic message that the characters don’t. They exist and they are nothing but an abstraction to read them.


cocktail party, It is impossible not to remember Max Beckmann’s Paris Painting Society (1931) when contemplating this wonderful room theater, in which the characters are poets, photographers, painters and Katz’s friends, in situations as cold and distant as their looks, though spoken. The disposition of the pseudo-bohemian choreography and the temporary pairs that take shape, is akin to that of the existential party seized by Federico Fellini in dolce life. More interesting than the whispers and details of things – glasses, cigars – is the slow time of a wonderful gift pulsing over the scene, and the outside back room at night with neon lights and its stories on the other side of this window is a painter’s loft, where Alex Katz suggests a suggestive aspect of the lower scene in the foreground.


A Summer’s Tale, 2006. How many women are there in a woman? Alex Katz studies them from his admiration. Indeed, in the work of the painter they are present as double images, from Ada in blue. With the gaze of the studio photographer, supported by the red curtain that enhances the light, the artist composes a strange frame in two parts. One without any narrative or association, other than his participation in a false congregation. The second is where the leading role is given to the two characters who appear on the right of the image as if they represent images of the same woman at different ages from their position. The person in the background is defensive in his fortitude, and the one in the foreground is safe and free. They both share a hand gesture that betrays their identity, hiding in their gaze the answer to Alex Katz’s question, floating in the air like his characters.


Double Sarah B, 2011. This painting is one of those that best exemplifies how little Alex Katz cares about the illusory concept of depth in painting in his work, instead highlighting the geometric perfection of the figure with the clean economy of figurative language, close to the statues of fashion for its lightness, style and proportions, but They propose it at the same time as a sculptural volume that gives greater importance. Less demanding in execution, they express the artist’s desire to create spaces free from sources of color as a backdrop in which the body conveys the sense of running motion, typical of a series of film frames or dance notes traced back to a drawing with Warhol’s wink.


The black jacket, 1972. Adam in the mirror. It’s not Nabokov’s novel but it does have an aura of mystery in Rita Hayworth the lady from shanghai, where Wells deconstructs it in images of psychological dueling feelings. It’s what pop music has, that cinema and literature infiltrate drawing inside or as an atmosphere, like this wonderful graphic poem about Ada. Beautiful composition of identity in the transformation of a gesture that is undoubtedly remembered Multiple picture by Duchamp from 1917. The difference is that Katz makes a front shot with the same Ada sequenced in two echoes and slight contrast in light and gestures in the center, maximizing beauty and psychology, popping in hair color and eyes and ultimately smiling in profile before leaving the photo.

Appearances appear as if they are still alive with a strong color in the forefront of the accompanying psychological state in Ted Berrigan s the light, In the wonderful celluloid for women’s mystery and fashion Nicole, black hat, blue umbrella serenity introspection of the blue scheme Ada and glow big red smile From which an infectious red smile escapes, conveying that moment when each one of them is the exact place and time of a constant emotion.


Alex Katz: Double Sara B, 2011

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The huge dream of the chromatic stroke whose ephemeral shapes enlarge on a flat background which also looks at us from the front or from the side. In their eyes and on their lips is the centerpiece of the mystery of that slice of life that holds them captive. A subtle introspective lyricism contrasts with the beauty of the elusive chromatic reflections of Maine orchards, such as Appel Blossoms and Orange and Black, where the chromatic temperature is musically poetic.


Alex Katz: The Black Blazer, 1972

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Watteau. Mattis. Manith. Van Gogh. Georgia O’Keeffe. Rothko. Abstract Expressionism and full-size pop are the essence of the picturesque composition, the influence of advertising in the breadth of this talented artist’s breadth of thought in pencil drawing with subtle calligraphic gestures but the fun of defining it in oil on canvas, where color focus is built into the space and is the ultimate expression of pictorial truth. In Katz, not only is the crucial issue of the image the chromatic volume, but he also draws from his paintings the perception that his paintings expand from the inside out, and invites us to join the party in which the nature of color has a face, and an emotional puzzle to solve.


Alex Katz: “A Summer’s Tale”, 2006

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Alex Katz

Coordinator: Guillermo Solana. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Until September 11

Leave a Comment