from the series Bath (Pharoah)

by Natkin, Robert (American, b. 1930)
Categorized in Painting

In childhood, Natkin recalls a dream where he dives into an Oriental rug and as he floats down into the rug he passes through bejeweled mazes of color that appear exotic to him. This recurring dream is not surprising to anyone familiar with this artist?s work, since much of Natkin?s work reminds one of textiles. He achieves this look by his use of cross-hatching, blottings, dottings and his own technique of transferring textures right onto the canvas by pressing with a heavy cloth or paper towel. Natkin once was on a train traveling to his studio when he noticed a fisherman?s sweater. He stared at the large looped popcorn style weave of the sweater for a long while. He began imagining the results he could achieve in his paintings if he used it and he decided he must have it. The story ends by the artist offering the fisherman $50 for his bedraggled sweater and the other fishermen then offering to sell Natkin their own clothing. He immediately exited at the next stop to avoid any further embarrassment. Pharaoh typifies the artist?s abundant use of color and texture that creates a fabric-like surface. His ability to unify his overlays of color of texture is evident in this painting. Light appears to travel right through this work that exhibits his love of pattern and paint so well.

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