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Bella Abzug

Bella Abzug
Usage Conditions Apply
Alex Katz, born 27 Jul 1927
Bella Savitzky Abzug, 24 Jul 1920 - 31 Mar 1998
Color lithograph on paper
Image/Sheet: 86 × 61 cm (33 7/8 × 24")
Mount: 91.4 × 66 cm (36 × 26")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
© Alex Katz / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born New York City
Alex Katz’s stylistic hallmarks—the influence of billboard advertising and the cropping of subjects to dramatic effect in particular—could not have been better suited for his portrait of the larger-than-life personality of Bella Abzug. An irascible lawyer and congresswoman, Abzug wore big hats and spoke loudly for the causes she believed in, which encompassed everything from feminism to civil rights. Asked to portray a politician of his liking, Katz picked Abzug as his first choice, and he made this portrait after observing the activist at her office. In a career that spanned more than forty years, Abzug fearlessly threw herself into many of the country’s most difficult issues, from Vietnam and McCarthyism to equal rights for gays and lesbians. With its flat planes of color and the banner-like lettering of Abzug’s first name, Katz’s image captures the political nature of Abzug’s persona.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection