- Alex Katz born 1927
- Oil paint on hardboard
- Frame: 422 x 320 x 34 mm
support: 402 x 300 x 3 mm
- ARTIST ROOMS Tate and 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
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."