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The Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, 9th Floor New York City, NY 10022 United States 212.535.8810
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$ 25,000

For Duke Ellington

Documentation Ample Provenance
Origin United States
Period 1920-1949
Materials Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions
W. 39.5 in; H. 27.5 in;
W. 100.33 cm; H. 69.85 cm;
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date c, 1933
Description Described as the “author of a dappled infinite,” Robert Natkin created some of the most innovative color abstractions of the late twentieth century (Carter Ratcliff, “The Dappled Infinite,” Art & Antiques 38 [December 2015]). Populated by stripes, dots, grids, and an array of free-floating forms, his light- filled canvases are sensuous, playful, and visually complex, representing “a unique formal universe of unparalleled beauty” (Louis A. Zona, “Foreword: Robert Natkin: Crescendos of Whispers,” in Robert Natkin: A Retrospective, 1952–1996, exhib. cat. [Youngstown, Ohio: Butler Institute of American Art, 1997]).

Born in Chicago, Natkin was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents who worked in the garment industry. At age five, he began going to the movies (often six times a week), an activity that, in addition to providing him with a measure of respite from his dysfunctional family, would later profoundly influence his work as a painter. In 1945, Natkin’s family moved briefly to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where Natkin decided to pursue a career as an artist. A natural draftsman, he initially wanted to become an illustrator, like Norman Rockwell, whose work he had seen in the Saturday Evening Post. However, while attending the school of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1948 to 1952, Natkin was afforded the opportunity to study the museum’s world-class collection of French post-impressionist art and decided to turn his attention to painting instead. During these formative years, Natkin was inspired by the examples of Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse, who used decorative patterning and arbitrary color to evoke mood. Most importantly, he also discovered the work of Paul Klee, the Swiss- German artist whose whimsical, semi-abstract paintings reflected his belief that “art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible”––a credo that nurtured Natkin’s burgeoning interest in emotional content. As a student, Natkin was also a frequent visitor to the Field Museum of Natural History, where he was attracted to the stylized shapes of American Indian art and Peruvian textiles.
Styles / Movements Abstract Expressionism
Dealer Reference Number M 10264D.038
Incollect Reference Number 298930
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