Alex Katz
First Sight, Working Drawings from 1965-2002

September 16 – November 12, 2005
at Peter Blum SoHo

Peter Blum is pleased to announce the exhibition, Alex Katz: First Sight, Working Drawings from 1965 to 2002 at the Peter Blum Gallery, 99 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012 from September 16th to November 12th, 2005.

The exhibition of 300 drawings by Alex Katz assembled here, represents the first time that a major installation has been dedicated to the artist's working drawings. These drawings are preparatory, they are working tools and they have been used by Alex Katz throughout his career.

In High School Katz studied antique drawing. He describes this discipline as providing him with "an intellectual structure for making drawings." As a student of modern drawing at Cooper Union, he would carry a sketch book. Katz would study the people on the subway to and from school, sketching them and finding a fundamental "beauty" in the people. He discovered at his point that he was making compositions of people. Later, he would only make sketches specifically for a painting he had in mind. Indeed, before Katz picked up a pencil he would have a good idea of what he wanted to achieve.

The working drawing is a product of the artist's observation. It offers insight into the artist's process as often the original idea for a painting is illustrated here in its nascent state. Katz draws very quickly in pen and ink searching for the right gesture. He will make two or three sketches to figure what gestures he will use. To slow him self down he will often use a pencil, especially for areas that require deliberation and careful adjustments. When a strong image has emerged he will redraw it on a small board, eventually working it up as a small painting and thence through several stages including a preparatory full size cartoon to the finished large scale painting.

On the occasion of this exhibition the book Alex Katz: First Sight, Working Drawings has been published by Peter Blum Edition. Text by Jean-Christophe Ammann and Alex Katz.