Alex Katz Reflection with Lilies 2, 2010
A pre-eminent painter of modern life, Alex Katz draws inspiration from films, billboard advertising, music, poetry and his close circle of friends and family, but it was through landscapes that he found his voice as a young painter, exploring the lakes and forests surrounding the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture where he was a student in the 1950s. Reflection with Lilies 2 (2010) is one of several paintings based on the water lilies on a pond by Katz’s Maine summerhouse. He had been admiring the water lilies for 50 years but, thinking ‘it seemed ridiculous to paint something that Monet had painted’, had never dared to do so. He began painting the water lilies in 2009 as an homage to Monet, whose ability to render the weight and motion of water he admires, but Katz’s visual grammar of abstract painting, the immediacy of the light and the quickness of the brushstrokes contrast with Monet’s more contemplative approach.