Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Rudi 9557


Alex Katz (Brooklyn, New York, 7/24/1927 - )



Creation Date



20th century


14 3/4 in. x 22 in. (37.5 cm. x 55.9 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

graphite on paper

Credit Line

Museum Purchase


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

Accession Number

Over more than five decades, Katz has created a distinctive, fast-paced style recognizable by a dazzlingly perceptive, sometimes glaringly bright color palette, flattened shapes, and unconventional, often extremely large compositions that rival billboards and movie screens. Portraits of family and friends loom large in Katz’s oeuvre. This drawing shows the late Swiss-American filmmaker, photographer, and painter Rudy Burckhardt (1914--1999), a close friend of the Katz family for many years. While Katz acknowledges his sitter’s unkempt appearance--noting the disheveled hair and unruly eyebrows--he also imbues him with a sense of determination, even movie-star-like glamour. The unlikely horizontal format of the portrait, its “en-face” presentation with eyes slightly focused to the right, the close-up cropping, the perspective from below, the suggested bright light, and the barren background all contribute to the effect.

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