Alex Katz
Eli’s Friend 1985

Artwork details

Alex Katz born 1927
Eli’s Friend
Date 1985
Medium Oil paint on hardboard
Dimensions Frame: 422 x 320 x 34 mm
support: 402 x 300 x 3 mm
Acquisition ARTIST ROOMS
Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Not on display

Online caption

Although painted from life, this oil study of the artist’s friend has a photographic quality in its centred, cropped composition and frontal gaze. Katz has been painting portraits of his family and friends in New York since the 1950s; these are now seen as precursors of Pop Art. Often grand in scale, they have a slick finish and detached manner with undercurrents of melancholia. Small oil paintings such as this one are sketched from life and often intended to be scaled up into larger works, but their economic execution and visible brushstrokes reveal an intimate side to his practice. He says, "A sketch is very direct. It is working empirically, inside of an idea."

About this artwork