Robert Zakanitch


Robert Zakanitch (b. 1935, New Jersey) is one of the founders of the Pattern and Decoration movement from the 1970s and 1980s. He started his artistic career as a Color Field painter in 1960s New York City. Zakanitch's early compositions were in a hard-edge, minimalist style, but then he fell in love with decorative art. Wielding the dazzling color sensibility that he had developed through his Color Field work, the artist turned to natural motifs and swirling patterns. “Painting had become too cerebral and I wanted it to become more physical, more touchable (but still intelligent), and I wanted to reach a broader audience and not just the art historian, artist sect,” wrote Zakanitch in 1983.


Zakanitch earned his BA at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. In 2021, the Hessel Museum of Art celebrated the legacy of Pattern and Decoration with the exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985, a show that celebrated Zakanitch’s major contributions to the movement. The artist’s works are in major collections throughout the world including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Ludwig Collection (Germany) and Tate (London).


related works

  • In our sister gallery, form & concept, Santa Fe artist Matthew Mullins is likewise drawn to painting experimental patterns and floral motifs, mapping the interconnection of human consciousness and the natural world. View his work