Vivien with Hat



The large format portrait “Vivien with Hat” shows Vivien Bittencourt, Alex Katz’s daughter–in-law in a white summer wide-brimmed hat. This signature reductive aesthetic is clearly Alex Katz. Pulling out only the essential visual components of his subject, Katz delivers a face in a seemingly raw power stroke. Flat, illustrative qualities are married with hard-edged accessories and minimal modeling techniques. At its core, a subtractive methodology by the artist allows him to edit out the visual noise and concentrate visually on the essential key elements of his art, in this case, his family.



The use of soft colors and emphasis on fashionable details in his painting transforms the coldness of sharp lines and lack of detail into a stunning contemporary art portrait by an unrelenting 94-year-old painter.


Katz’s use of the achromatic blue field is not so much a void but a masterful decision of the “less is more” disposition. A color field technique, Katz conquers the ability of using the blue hue not as negative space but instead cleverly addressing the surroundings with the concept of maximizing a token of color versus a destitute environment lacking in notice.


Vivien Bittencourt grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, where she received a degree in history from the University of São Paulo. In 1986, she moved to New York City to pursue her interest in filmmaking. She produced and directed documentaries about artists, including Rudy Burckhardt, Alex Katz and Kiki Smith.


“Vivien with Hat” is an exemplary work by Alex Katz now available at New River Fine Art.


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Alex Katz (b. 1927) | Vivien with Hat, 2021, (149/150) | Archival pigment Print on Innova 315 gsm paper | 36 x 48 in | Framed


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