Robert Natkin

(Chicago, Illinois, 1930 - 2010, Danbury, Connecticut)

Intimate Lighting


Acrylic on canvas

18 1/2 x 32 5/8 in. (47.0 x 82.8 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of the artist


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An abstract painter known for combining fields of color with playful geometric forms, Robert Natkin advised viewers to lick his paintings “with the tongue of their eye.” Natkin created separate groups of paintings featuring distinct palettes, motifs and surface qualities, returning to these groups at various points in his career. Intimate Lighting is part of a series of the same name, which is characterized by textured surfaces, modulating tonalities and floating calligraphic shapes. Natkin achieved this vaporous texture by applying paint to the canvas with a dish towel, an idea that occurred to him after painting directly onto the towel.

Abstract art