Arshile Gorky

Arshile Gorky

American artist, one of the leaders of abstract expressionism
Date of Birth: 15.04.1904
Country: USA

Biography of Arshile Gorky

Arshile Gorky, born as Vostanik Adoyan, was an American artist and one of the leaders of abstract expressionism. He was born on April 15, 1904 in Khorkom, a Turkish province in Van, into a merchant family. Due to the war and persecution against the Armenian population, Gorky and his family moved to Tiflis and later to Batum in 1919. In 1920, his family emigrated to the United States.

Gorky attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and later taught at the Grand Central School of Art in New York from 1926 to 1931. He combined the name "Arshil" (Armenian for "Achilles") with the surname "Gorky" (in honor of M. Gorky) as his artistic pseudonym. Initially, Gorky painted in a traditional figurative style, experimenting with the influences of artists such as Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky. It was his encounter with Roberto Matta in 1939 that had a significant impact on his artistic development.

Gorky gradually transitioned from figuration to abstraction, becoming one of the most significant masters of abstract expressionism. His series "Garden in Sochi" (1940-1942) marked this transition. He painted vibrant and often enigmatic works, with elusive forms that sharply contrasted against colorful backgrounds, resembling fragments of a pulsating organism. Occasionally, his phantasmagoric creations hinted at memories of traditional peasant life from his childhood.

Among his notable works are "Artichoke Leaf as Owl" (1944, Museum of Modern Art, New York), "Liver as Rooster Comb" (1944, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo), "How My Mother's Apron Unfolds in My Destiny" (1944, private collection, USA), and "Engagement 2" (1947, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).

Unfortunately, in 1946, a fire broke out in Gorky's studio, resulting in the loss of many of his paintings. This tragedy, along with other misfortunes such as a car accident in 1948 that maimed his right hand, deeply affected the artist's mental state. Arshile Gorky passed away in Sherman, Connecticut on July 21, 1948.