Alex Katz, Double Portrait, 1960-1963

Alex Katz
Double Portrait
Lithograph on Paper
10 x 12 in. (25.4 x 30.5 cm)
Gift of Michael and Kim Sherman, 2004
The Mishkin Gallery

The protagonists of Double Portrait by Alex Katz (1960-1963) stand with crossed arms, bodies angled slightly away from the viewer. At first glance they are twins, but the two figures are not identical. Slight differences emerge. Against paper, the black crayon contrasts to expose the figures. The lines are decisive and simple, almost cartoonish. This is cancer biologist and fulbright scholar, Ada Katz (née Del Moro, Brooklyn 1927). The two portraits were taken 33 years apart in 1960 and 1993. In the year of the first portrait, Katz left her career as a biologist to manage her husband’s studio and care for their children. Katz is the subject of over 250 of her husband’s paintings, ranging from close ups to full body portraits. Like in Double Portrait, Katz’s image often multiplies across a single work. She shares her birth year and hometown with her husband, Alex. Known for his use of flat shapes, bold colors and large canvas, Katz used pencil and charcoal drawings to study his subjects before moving them to canvas.