Object Image
Black Scarf has the scale and impact of a billboard, but nevertheless offers a tender and intimate portrait of Alex Katz's wife, Ada. The image both acknowledges and stylizes the effects of aging on her reserved, fine-boned beauty. A breeze catches a lock of gray hair. Ada looks over her shoulder as though her attention had been distracted by something behind her, while her body turns in the opposite direction, as if moving forward. The image is like a film still that conveys the past, present, and future in one frame, and perhaps Katz was thinking of this convergence of time when he said that this was the "last great portrait" of Ada. Behind it lie the hundreds of images he had made of her sin...
1995
Oil on canvas
182.9 x 121.9cm
2001.38
Text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023
Image: 1995, Alex Katz

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