Lot 380

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Henry Botkin
American, (1896-1983)
KANO, 1970
oil on canvas collage on masonite
Signed lower left. Titled, dated, and signed verso.
Formerly in the collection of the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. Gift of Mrs. Rhoada Botkin.

Biography from the Archives of askART: Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Henry Botkin studied at the Art Students League in New York City and also painted at Provincetown. He was an abstract painter who served from 1957 to 1961 as President of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. He was a long time resident of New York City.

In 1935, he visited Charleston, South Carolina where he painted low-country blacks in a romantic manner that some criticized for lacking social realism. By the late 1940s he had turned to abstraction in oils and collage.

He was hosted by his cousin and close companion, George Gershwin, composer, who was in Charleston with DuBose Heyward at Folly Beach setting his novel "Porgy" to music. Botkin was Gershwin's painting teacher, and Gershwin collected many of Botkin's paintings which people said corresponded in mood to Gershwin's music. Martha Severens in her book, The Charleston Renaissance, wrote: "The interaction between the two cousins was a dynamic one, and Botkin created paintings that reflect Gershwin's music. Correspondences are found in subject and in style. Both had a genuine interest in African-American culture that preceded their visit to Folly Beach and the evolution of "Porgy and Bess". . . .They talked art together and spent years of their lives together". (112)

Botkin also acted as an art advisor to Ira and George Gershwin, traveling to Paris to buy works for them and for their friends including William Paley, Fanny Brice, and Billy Rose.

Botkin helped to organize the first exhibition of American abstract painting at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan, in 1955.

Peter Hastings Falk (Editor), Who Was Who in American Art
Martha Severens, The Charleston Renaissance

  • 33 1/2"H x 43 3/4"W (sight), 34 1/4"H x 44 1/4"W (frame)
  • Artist Name:
  • Henry Botkin
  • Medium:
  • oil on canvas collage on masonite

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December 16, 2023 11:00 AM EST
Indianapolis, IN, US

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