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18
Alex Katz
RED CAP
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 418,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
18
Alex Katz
RED CAP
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 418,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger

|
London

Alex Katz
B. 1927
RED CAP
signed and dated 03 on the overlap
oil on canvas
243.8 by 116.8 cm. 96 by 46 in.
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Provenance

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg

Acquired from the above by David Teiger in 2004

Catalogue Note

Alex Katz seeks to capture the essence of his sitters, not necessarily as they appear, but as they seem to him at the moment of painting them. He does not seek to create a narrative, but rather a degree of wonder and intrigue, allowing the enigmatic nature of his subjects to shine through. The people depicted are frequently drawn from Katz’s life: his wife Ada, his son Vincent, fellow artists, poets, dancers, and other friends willing to act as his latest muse. David Teiger and Katz were close friends and used to meet regularly and speak at length, and although no indication is given in the title of the identity of the sitter for the present work, the subject is Teiger’s close friend Kati Lovaas, one of the trustees of the Teiger Foundation, who sat for multiple portraits by the artist, of which two survive. In Lovaas' words, “Originally Alex painted me as a whole, but after getting to know me he felt strongly about doing paintings reflecting the two sides of my personality, the bitch lawyer side and the warm fuzzy side.  David chose the latter”.

In the present work, Lovaas' features are stripped to the bare essentials, her direct stare and coy smile contrasting with her oversized jacket and anonymous red baseball cap. The eye is attracted to elements which cling to the surface: the subtle play of light and shadow within the creases of her jacket, the stark contrast between the predominantly primary colours, the lack of depth which makes the composition surreal and improbable, the sense of the subject’s confidence that emanates from the canvas. Monumental and invitingly impersonal, Katz’s realist style of painting reflects his training in commercial art. By increasing the scale of his works, flattening images, eliminating extraneous detail and sharpening contours, he has created a definitive and idiosyncratic style. The artist remarked, “People say painting is real and abstract.  Everything in paint that’s representation is false because it’s not representational, it’s paint.  We speak different languages and have different syntax. The way I paint, realistic is out of abstract painting as opposed to abstract style. So I use a line, a form and a color. So my contention is that my paintings are as realistic as Rembrandt’s… it was realistic painting in its time. It’s no longer a realistic painting. Realism’s a variable. For an artist, this is the highest thing an artist can do – to make something that’s real for his time, where he lives. But people don’t see it as realistic, they see it as abstract. But for me it’s realistic” (Alex Katz in conversation with David Sylvester, March 1997, online).

Rendered in Katz’s iconic flattened style, Red Cap is a superlative example of the artist’s characteristic aesthetic.  The subject is a cool yet mysterious woman whose depiction is characterised by the elimination of high-level surface detail and the subtle play of light and shadow that make for a whimsically surreal composition. Typical of the artist’s oeuvre, the seemingly shallow spatial plane and sharp cropping device paired with the sheer size of the canvas owe much to the crisp manner of commercial art and illustration with further inspiration drawn from film, advertising and fashion. With its grand scale, bold brushwork and carefully figurative renderings, Red Cap sees Katz sublimely capture a moment, if not a second, in time. It is a striking example from Katz’s impressive oeuvre, skillfully capturing his stylised artifice in which the final portrait is recognisable, yet manifests as a distortion of reality.

The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger

|
London