Robert Natkin, ‘Untitled (Apollo)’, 1963, Heather James Fine Art
Robert Natkin, ‘Untitled (Apollo)’, 1963, Heather James Fine Art

Robert Natkin (1930-2010) was born in Chicago and graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1952. Natkin’s art blends Abstract Expressionism with Post-Impressionist colors. His work often runs in series he created using columns, grids and shifting planes that include this early jazz oriented example titled Coltrane. These works, with vertical stripes alternating between thick and thin, decorative and textured, are cheerful and light, invoking a specific lyricism. His painting is inspired by the color used by Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard, and the Cubism of Paul Klee. In 1959, Natkin joined a group of other artists from Chicago in an exodus to New York, where he began teaching and exhibiting his paintings.

Signature: Signed and dated bottom center 'Natkin '63'

About Robert Natkin

Painter Robert Natkin was known for his lyrical abstract forms, applied in vivid, Post-Impressionist-inspired colors. He used both a paintbrush and palette knife to apply his bright acrylic paints to his canvas, sometimes also using cloths or netting as stencils. Though he made a number of series based on popular culture, like Hitchcock’s films and jazz, he declined to think of his work as deliberately narrative. “I sew together fragments of cloth unaware of the dress I’m sewing, unaware of its final look and function,” he once said. On occasion, his subjects were figural; a late series featured abstract heads and busts. Natkin was also famously mischievous. Among his other antics, his daughter recounted an instance in which Natkin licked a Vermeer painting at the Frick Collection when no one was looking.

American, 1930-2010, Chicago, Illinois