National Portrait Gallery Acquires Alex Katz Portrait of Anna Wintour

The National Portrait Gallery has bought American artist Alex Katz’s bold portrait of Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of American VOGUE with the help of the Art Fund. The work, which was unveiled at the Gallery in 2010, is the first painted portrait of British-born Wintour and also the first work by influential American artist Katz to enter the Gallery’s Collection.

Anna (Anna Wintour), Alex Katz, 2009 © Alex Katz, DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2011

Anna (Anna Wintour) was completed in late 2009, Wintour visited Katz in his New York studio where he worked on studies from life for the final painting. This was the first time that Wintour had sat for a painting but she appears to have enjoyed the occasion thoroughly, ‘I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend the afternoon. We talked for two hours while he worked, and I was pleased to see that he used a lot of colour, which I adore.’
The decision to paint her without her signature sunglasses came after Katz observed her in the movie The September Issue and noticed she had “lovely eyes”. He says: “Painting Anna was like shooting a fish in a barrel. There was no way I could miss it.” It is this combination of artist and sitter which makes the portrait so arresting suggests Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, ‘Anna Wintour by Alex Katz is a powerful painting – of one great international figure created by another.’
The portrait will be on show from 13 September to coincide with London Fashion Week.

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