Object Image

Swamp Maple (4:30)

Although best known for his figure paintings, often set in and around Manhattan, Alex Katz is equally a painter of Maine, where he has summered for decades. Swamp Maple (4:30) is one of his largest landscapes in every sense—at once monumental and unstable, fast and slow, flat and deep, hard and soft, general and particular, observed and abstract.

Katz captured the glow of weak sun on leaf and water and the contrasting textures of soft grass and rough bark (nicely conveyed by drying cracks, which the artist left intentionally rather than painting over them). The color choices, such as the tan sky and the white reflection of the black shore, are memorable and puzzling. The time of day, as indica...

Oil on linen
365.8 x 236.2cm
Image and text © National Gallery of Art, 2020

Where you'll find this

National Gallery of Art
Permanent collection