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Young Washington

Katz, Alex

Young Washington

8-color lithograph on paper, ed. 6/125

1976 Gift of Lorillard, NY

During the 1950s when abstraction was the dominant theme in American art, Alex Katz focused on representational subjects drawn from firsthand observation. His highly stylized portraits of his friends and family reduced his subjects to their most prominent features. His work is characterized by flat color, dramatic cropping, and close-ups that are similar in style to faces seen in advertisements and on billboards. By minimizing shading with light and dark areas and eliminating gestural brushwork, Katz reduced the emotional content of his subjects -- a style that later became associated with 1960s Pop Art.

Katz produced prints to clarify images he had made in other media. He liked the idea that a single image could be made available to a wide number of people in the general public without compromising the artwork's vitality. In "Young Washington" large areas of flat, opaque color that are commonly seen in screenprints draw attention to the compositional forms. Katz explained why he chose portray George Washington in this print, "Most images of George Washington represent him after the Revolution. I wanted to portray him during the Revolution."