Morris Katz was born in Poland in March 5, 1932, and at age 13 studied art under Hans Fokler of the Munich Academy, one of Germany’s most prestigious Art Schools. He moved to the United States in 1949, following World War II, where he took a job in carpentry. He took up painting as a hobby but after experimenting with pallet knives and rags in 1956 he gave up using paintbrushes. Katz’s technique involved using only a palette knife and wads of paper tissue, the rolls of paper tissue were used to clean the knife or for creating shadings and shapes.
A self-proclaimed king of instant painting, Katz holds the world record for the quickest time to complete a painting. On May 9, 1988, he painted a 12 by 16 inch canvas of a child in the snow in 30 seconds and then, took a just 8 seconds to frame it. In 1987, during a 12-hour stint at the Penta Hotel in Manhattan, Katz cranked out 103 paintings - and peddled 55 in a fund-raiser for the Boy Scouts of America.
Despite these speeds, Katz still managed to create portraits with character and landscapes with depth.
And that wasn’t the only distinction granted to Katz by the Guinness Book of World Records—his name appeared alongside Pablo Picasso’s under the heading for “Most Prolific Painters. He was so prolific that he holds a second world record citied by the Guinness Book of Records, for selling more that 225 000 pieces of art in his career, breaking Picasso's record in New York in 1985. The Spanish
master is estimated to have completed some 13,500 paintings in his life.
He became something of a minor a celebrity, even appearing on Letterman and Oprah and his art became hard to ignore. More than 100 museums around the world have exhibited and own his work, including The Smithsonian Institute, who have three of his paintings on display.