Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Tulips I

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Alex Katz


Tulips I

Creation Date


Medium & Support

chalk and charcoal on paper


40 x 50 in. (101.6 x 127 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Alex Katz

Accession Number



This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

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With unrivaled energy and enviable sense of style, Alex Katz understands how to transform mural-sized canvases into vibrant, unforgettable images. This cartoon, a to-scale drawing for the painting of the same year, offers a glimpse into the artist’s practice. Katz usually sketches a subject in oil paint on a small board and projects the image onto a larger sheet of paper. He then translates the color image into a line drawing in charcoal, capturing the essence of his motif and defining its relation to the canvas’s shape and dimensions. Following a procedure first established among Renaissance mural painters, he perforates the line with a pointed wheel, further editing the composition in the process. A pouncing of the lines with powdery red crayon transfers the image onto the canvas. With the pre-mixed oil paint on his palette ready to go, Katz is finally able to paint swiftly in his masterful wet-on-wet technique.

Portfolios: FEAT|Contemporary Art