Considered a namesake in American Abstraction, Natkin’s playful, poetic prints and paintings demonstrate the artist’s whimsical exploration of color and expression. Whether he communicates in lithographs or acrylic paint his aesthetic ranges from nuanced to bold, and his extraordinary visions are never absent of sentiment.
Robert Natkin (American, 1930–2010)
Energetic, combative, and talented Robert Natkin is one of the most important abstract painters of his generation. Born in depression-era Chicago on November 7, 1930, Natkin had little support from his family in his desire to pursue art and didn’t truly embrace it until 1947 when he picked up a book on Paul Klee. Inspired by the creations, he became a student at the Art Institute of Chicago the following year. After graduating, he ran a small Chicago gallery with his wife, showing Pollock and De Kooning, but his influence was always European and his passion was always his own art.
Moving to New York with other like-minded artists, Natkin rose to prominence in the late 1960s and 1970s. Finding success with abstract expressionism, color field painting, and lyrical abstraction, he showed throughout hundreds of galleries worldwide and exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art; Holburne of Menstrie Museum and Festival Gallery, Bath; Smithsonian Institution, Washington; and the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus OH just to name few.
Growing tired of the political aspect surrounding art, he moved to Connecticut during his final years where he still continued to produce and exhibit art at his home, dying in 2010. His works, including Natkin’s prints and paintings, continue to be represented in the permanent collections of major museums as well as numerous prestigious corporate and private collections worldwide.