- Alex Katz born 1927
- Oil paint on hardboard
- Support: 407 x 301 x 3 mm
frame: 426 x 320 x 34 mm
- Tate / National Galleries of Scotland
- 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
The contrast between black sky and artificially lit ground create an unsettling atmosphere in this small study, as if we were observing the backdrop for a disturbing event. Katz has been painting the American landscape since the 1950s, often inspired by summer residencies in Maine. The melancholic undercurrents in this work suggest the influence of Edvard Munch. Katz is well-known for his large paintings, whose bold simplicity and heightened colours are now seen as precursors to Pop Art. 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."