Tell me more.
This work was created by using what's known as a lithography stone. Through a variety of chemical processes, the stone is manipulated to hold color in the shape of the object you want to "print," by placing a pieces of paper over the inked surface and rolling over it so that the color transfers.
Each color you see in this work was applied using a different lithography stone. 11 in total!
Tell me more.
Alex Katz is known for creating artwork of everyday people, especially people from his own life. Here, we see his wife, Ada, going about her day in the rain. Katz was interested in visual flatness, simplicity, and clarity in his work. His work is often compared to Pop Art, but Katz himself does not subscribe to any one movement or time period.
"Blue Umbrella" seems strangely placed next to all the ceramics. Is there any intention behind that?
Part of the reason is lighting. A work on paper like this can't be exposed to too much light for too long. This area of the exhibition has seen a few rotations of different works on paper. Also, Infinite Blue, overall, means to present examples from every area of our collection.
Do you know anything about the relationship of the artist and his wife? She looks so sad or forlorn.
The artist and his wife Ada have been married since February 1, 1958, and she appears in many of his works. Her expression reflects his style more than her mood, as he often paints impassive faces on his subjects.
Does he mostly paint women, or men too?
Overall, Katz did paint more women than men, although he did have male sitters as well.
What’s a lithograph?
A lithograph is a type of print that is made using hydrophobic (water hating/oil loving) and hydrophilic (water loving) areas of a surface, that can then be inked with oil based ink and printed on paper. It's actually a pretty chemical heavy, complex process but the result is usually a print that looks almost hand drawn. If you look at Alex Katz's "Blue Umbrella", for example, you can see at the edges of the lines and forms that it looks almost like it was drawn with crayon. This is because lithography basically allows you to make a reproducible image from a drawing done in wax crayon or pencil on a stone.
This is so beautiful.
The flat colors with areas of pattern may remind you of Japanese woodblock prints. That's no accident! Katz was inspired by the work of Kitagawa Utamaro, who also created prints of women with umbrellas.
Who is this and what was the inspiration?
The woman in this image is Katz's wife and longtime muse, Ada. He has used Ada as his subject countless times! The flat colors with highly patterned sections may remind you of Japanese woodblock prints. That's no accident. Katz was inspired by these qualities in the work of Kitagawa Utamaro, who also created prints of women sheltering themselves from the rain using umbrellas.
Is there a story behind this painting in particular?
Yes, the flat colors with highly patterned sections may remind you of Japanese woodblock prints. That's no accident. Katz was inspired by these qualities in the work of Kitagawa Utamaro, who also created prints of women sheltering themselves from the rain using umbrellas. In this print, he chose to depict his wife Ada engaged in the same activity.
Fascinating, thank you!
Who is the mystery lady in this one?
This work features Alex Katz's wife Ada, his longtime muse. He used her as a subject many times, exploring both the identities she can project and the way the same subject can be rendered differently each time.