Alex Katz Painting Acquired By The NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY London
A portrait of Anna Wintour the British born Editor in Chief of American VOGUE, by the well known artist Alex Katz has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. Nick-named, ‘Devil In The Yellow Dress’, the painting was recently on display and central to the exhibition, Alex Katz Portraits May – September 2010. Katz is one of the most significant artists of his generation and it was the first time that there had been a major exhibition dedicated to his work in a London museum.
Anna Wintour is depicted in the portrait without her signature Jasckie Onasis style sunglasses, against a yellow background, a departure from her public persona. Katz. Completed the painting in late 2009 and Wintour visited his New York studio, where he worked on studies from life for the final painting. This was the first time that Wintour had sat for a painting, and the decision to paint her without her sunglasses came after Katz observed her in The September Issue and noticed she had “lovely eyes”. He says: “Painting Anna was like shooting a fish in a barrel. There was no way I could miss it.” Katz emerged on the New York art scene during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism and before the birth of Pop art, but he has always worked independently of these movements. He is best known as a painter of people and the subjects of his portraits are the people at the centre of his cultural life. Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: “This is a wonderfully stylish portrait of a powerful force in the international world of fashion. Alex Katz captures an essence of Anna Wintour on a grand scale.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Katz is one of America’s most well-respected and influential senior artists. Katz emerged on the New York art scene during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism and before the birth of Pop art, but he has always worked independently of these movements. He is best known as a painter of people and the subjects of his portraits are the people at the centre of his cultural life.
Anna has been acquired for a net price of £125,000, purchased with help in the form of a £45,000 grant from the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for works of art. The remainder of the funds came from the Gallery’s Portrait Fund.
Dr Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund commented, ‘The addition of Alex Katz’s portrait of Anna Wintour, combining American and British culture, is extremely fitting and we are delighted to have helped buy the painting for visitors to the Gallery to enjoy.’