Artist Alex Katz: ‘This is the end game. It’s just sleep and paint’

The 96-year-old is opening an ambitious show in Venice with some of his largest paintings to date

Julia Halperin, Financial Times, 13 April 2024

“Alex is painting.” That’s how Alex Katz’s studio manager greeted me when I arrived at his New York studio on a recent Friday morning. She spoke in a whisper, the way someone might tell a visitor that a baby is sleeping. From the other room, I could hear the whoosh of Katz’s paintbrush dragging across the canvas’s surface. A few moments later, he turned away from the mustachioed figure taking shape in front of him, walked towards me and smiled, as if he were leaving a cinema and stepping back into the daylight.


Katz, who turns 97 in July, has never had trouble staying focused. He made his name painting portraits of New York literati during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, when figuration was distinctly unfashionable. In the seven decades since, he has continued to tune out art-world noise and remain relentlessly committed to his distinctive aesthetic.