Alex Katz is an American painter recognized for his distinctive style of portraiture. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927. As a teenager, he attended the Woodrow Wilson High School for its art program and in 1946 he began his studies at The Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan, where he was trained primarily in Modernist art theories and techniques.
Katz’s paintings are almost equally divided into the genres of portraiture and landscape, though his portraiture is more well-known and celebrated. In his early career, he strived for realism in his paintings. He painted his friends and his wife, Ada, in his characteristic style of flat planes of colour. He often worked from painted cutouts of canvas, which were mounted on contoured wood and, later, he would paint these shapes directly on cut wood and aluminum. In the 1960s, Katz created large-scale paintings, often of faces, and began also painting groups of people. He depicted the lives of artist, poets, critics, and other colleagues. In 1965, he began printmaking. Throughout his career he has produced many editions in silkscreen, lithography, etching, woodcut, and linoleum cut. In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, he focused on large landscape paintings which envelope the viewer in nature.
Today, Katz lives and works in SoHo, New York City. His work has been shown in more than two hundred solo exhibitions and five hundred group exhibitions internationally and is included in the collections of more than one hundred public institutions worldwide. He has received many awards and recognitions throughout his lifetime including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, New York.
William Kentridge is a South African artist who was born in Johannesburg in 1955. He is recognized for his prints, drawings, and animations. He studied Politics and African Studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg from 1973-1976 and Fine Arts at the Johannesburg Art Foundation from 1976-1978. In the early 1980s, he moved to Paris to study Mime and Theatre at l’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. In his pursuit to become an actor, Kentridge worked as an art director for television films in addition to directing and acting for a theatre company in Johannesburg.
Kentridge became well known for his animations, which are made with snapshots of drawings that are erased, changed and recaptured throughout. The history of social injustices and politics in South Africa is often explored in these pieces. Although he is most recognized for his prints, drawings, and animations, he is constantly exploring new mediums to play with. In the past decade, he has worked extensively with charcoal as well as public sculptures and murals.
Kentridge’s work has been included in numerous international exhibitions and festivals. His work is part of the permanent collections of the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, NY, the Tate Modern in London, England, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL, the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan. Today, his work is extremely popular and frequently sought-after in South Africa.