Arshile Gorky

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Gorky, Arshile

(är`shīl gôr`kē), c.1900–48, American painter, b. Armenia as Vosdanig Adoian. He escaped the Turkish slaughter of Armenians, emigrated to the United States in 1920, studied at Boston's New School of Design, and moved to New York City in 1925. An extraordinarily fluid draftsman inspired by IngresIngres, Jean Auguste Dominique
, 1780–1867, French painter, b. Montauban; son of a sculptor. He studied with J. L. David in Paris and in 1801 won the Prix de Rome. The French government could not afford to award the prize until 1806.
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, PicassoPicasso, Pablo
(Pablo Ruiz y Picasso) , 1881–1973, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramist, who worked in France. He is generally considered in his technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, and incredible originality and prolificity to have been the
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, and several other artists, Gorky developed a figurative style of great refinement. A more radical turn in his art was prompted by the spontaneous automatism found in surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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 and in the works of MiróMiró, Joan
, 1893–1983, Spanish surrealist painter. After studying in Barcelona, Miró went to Paris in 1919. In the 1920s he came into contact with cubism and surrealism.
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 and MattaMatta
(Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren) , 1911?–2002, Chilean painter who left his native country for Paris (1935) and thereafter worked in Europe and the United States, b. Santiago.
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. Gorky began (c.1940) to create abstractions consisting of involved, voluptuously organic shapes and glowing colors, all enveloped in an aura of mystery. In these works he became a pioneer in the development of abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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. His reputation had already been established when, after a series of personal and professional disasters, he committed suicide at the age of 44. Gorky is well represented in American collections, e. g., in New York City, Water of the Flowery Mill is in the Metropolitan Museum and there are works at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum.

Bibliography

See catalog by J. Levy (1966); biographies by D. Waldman (1987), M. Spender (1999), and H. Herrera (2003); H. Rosenberg, Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea (1962, repr. 1981); K. Mooradian, The Many Worlds of Arshile Gorky (1981); H. Rand, Arshile Gorky: The Implications of Symbols (1981); C. Zwerin, dir., Arshile Gorky (documentary film, 1982).

Gorky, Arshile (b. Vosdanig Manoog Adoian)

(1904–48) painter; born in Khorkom Vari Haiyotz Dzur, Armenia. He emigrated to Rhode Island (1920), and settled in New York City (1924), then in Sherman, Connecticut (1945). He combined the abstract modernism of Europe and a form of organic surrealism. Influenced by Picasso, his most famous work is The Liver is the Cock's Comb (1944).