Alex Katz, Washington Crossing the Delaware: Waves, 1961, plywood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection, 1979.56.2B
In 1959, Alex Katz began painting figures on canvas, cutting them out and then pasting them onto wooden boards. Two years later the playwright Kenneth Koch saw an exhibition of these and asked Katz to produce the props and sets for his one-act play George Washington Crossing the Delaware. In Koch's satire, Washington’s famous crossing was motivated by his childhood when, after cutting down the cherry tree, the young Washington swam across a river to avoid his father's wrath. The play became an underground hit largely because of Katz's irreverent image of Washington.
Luce Object Quote"I do not think that sets or costumes should decorate a play . . . Rather, they should interpret the spirit and present it as strongly as the play." Alex Katz, quoted in Sandler, "In the Art Galleries," New York Post, February 9, 1964
Washington Crossing the Delaware: Waves
- On View
- Not on view.
15 3/4 x 219 3/4 x 1 in. (40.0 x 558.2 x 2.5 cm)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection
- History – United States – Revolution
- Waterscape – river – Delaware River
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI