ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
ALEXANDER RAYMOND KATZ (SANDOR)
A. RAYMOND KATZ (SANDOR) was born in Kassa, Hungary, on April 21, 1895, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. His outstanding teachers were St. John, Forsberg and Gunther. He ·has painted abroad in England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany and Checko-Slovakia, and, in this country, in California, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Tennessee and Louisiana. He is a member of the Chicago Society of Artists, the Art Institute of Chicago Alumni Association, the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists, the All-Illinois Society of Artists, the Artists' Guild and "Around The Palette" and has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Print Club of Philadelphia, the New York Society of Independent Artists and various other places. One-man shows of his work have been held at the Playhouse, Increase Robinson's Studio Gallery, the Jewish People's Institute, the Cinema Theatre, the Midland Club and the Little Gallery. His work has been written about in various Chicago newspapers, The Chicagoan, The Reflex, The Mahnruf, the B'nai B'rith Magazine and the Detroit Times, by J. Z. Jacobson, Robert Andrews, Ashton Stevens, S. P. Rudens, C. J. Bulliet, Eleanor Jewett and Irwin St. John Tucker.
A poet, a composer and a painter are inspired by the flight of sea gulls. They watch the graceful poise of the birds in the air and the ease with which they maneuver above their prey and swoop down upon them. The poet is moved to words and expresses in verse or prose the spirit of flight without describing it in full detail in the manner of a reporter. The musician is moved to sound and may compose a symphony based on what he has seen without .including the noise of splashing water or flapping wings. The painter, on the other hand, is expected, even today, to produce the illusion of a feather for feather photographic likeness of the sea gulls or at least something approximating that. Around this difference between the painter and workers in the other arts, I have referred to, revolves, it seems to me, the chief controversy between the exponents of academicism and modernism in painting. And it is at this point of departure that my main interest in painting begins. I want the painter to be granted the freedom that is enjoyed by the writer and the composer without challenge. Since. at the present slow pace of art education, it will take longer than I care to think about for any considerable number of people to arrive at an understanding of the purely abstract in art, I am no stickler for that. Instead I try to combine "realism" with the abstract in a way that gives me something of the freedom enjoyed by the writer and composer and a chance to achieve in my art results comparable with the results achieved by them in theirs. For instance, if I were to set out to make a painting based on the flight of birds I would select the ones whose movements interested me and would represent them as best I could on canvas without considering their position within the rectangle of a composition. I would begin with whatever rhythmic lines, mass and color, the contour and natural color of the birds would move me to evolve. And I would, with this as a basis, try to realize expressive form by repeating in notes the separate parts of my composition until I had mastered them so completely that when it came to weaving them into the pattern as a whole, I should be able to do that with the fluency and spontaneity of a quick simple sketch. I practice and rehearse, rehearse and practice. And I look forward to the day when I, or others, will be able to produce full painting in complicated murals which will have the flow of a simple sketch. A. Raymond Katz.