Robert R. Zakanitch was born in New Jersey, USA in 1935. He completed his BA at Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art in Newark, New Jersey in 1958. Zakanitch is credited as being a founder of the Pattern and Decorative Movement, the underlying premise of which was a rebellion against the authority of Minimalism and the rigidity of Conceptual Art. In order to attack any barriers between fine and decorative art, members of the movement took both high and low images from global cultures and incorporated ‘feminine’ materials, techniques and subject matter into their work. They rejected the hierarchy of materials and styles that existed at the time and embraced what was considered inferior, tasteless and kitsch.

Zakanitch continues to reaffirm the original premise of the Pattern and Decorative movement, regarding ornamentation as an affirmation of life. He is inspired by embellishment and by the memories of the domestic interiors of his childhood; floral rugs, painted plates and patterned linoleum floors of the 1940’s are symbols of his working-class roots. His large-scale, floral and leafy paintings are composed of luscious, energized brushstrokes that enliven a palette of brash pastels, resulting in work that is surprisingly alluring.

Since 1965, the artist has had numerous shows at leading galleries and his paintings are in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). In 1995, Robert Zakanitch received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He currently lives and works in New York City.

“Beauty is. It is as natural as breathing. Its allure is transforming and I never thought art was about anything else.” - Robert R. Zakanitch