American figurative artist Alex Katz (b.1927) has produced a remarkable and impressive body of work but is best known for his large-scale, flat, yet realistic portraits of friends and family notable for their relaxed attitudes and uncomplicated bearing. In the early 1960s, influenced by films, television, and billboard advertising, Katz began painting large-scale paintings, often with dramatically cropped faces.Utilizing characteristically wide brushstrokes, large swathes of color, and refined compositions, Katz created what art historian Robert Storr called "a new and distinctive type of realism in American art which combines aspects of both abstraction and representation."
In this interview from 1977, Katz talks about the development of his work and the decision to continue making figural work during the high-energy period of Abstract Expressionism. “I knew I had to paint what I saw,” Katz says in this interview with Kate Horsfield. “I never really felt comfortable with generalizations.”
A historical interview originally recorded in 1977 and re-edited in 2003 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.