Arshile Gorky

In 1933, Arshile Gorky became one of the first artists to become employed by the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. This later came to include such artists as Jackson Pollock, Diego Rivera and Mark Rothko. (photo “Arshile Gorky with Cigarette” by Gjon Mili)

About my favorite abstract expressionist painter is Arshile Gorky  [real name:  Vostanik Manuk Adoyan–born Khorkom, Turkish Armenia c. 1904; d. 1948, Sherman, Conn.] Came to America when he was 16 to join father who was already here (they never got along).

When looking on-line at some of his paintings, I was happily astonished to see that he painted a landscape of Staten Island, currently my home-borough.  His early paintings were representational as were of many artists who became abstract artists.

He made a long journey from his Staten Island painting to his abstract expressionist paintings.

 “Staten Island landscape” (1928-29)

Source: via Gayle on Pinterest

gorky andmother
gorky and mother photo 1912

Arshile Gorky-The-Artist-and-his-Mother-1926-34  (His mother died of starvation in Armenia)

Source: via Gayle on Pinterest

Moving right along:  He changed his style and became successful and famous.  

Arshile Gorky “one year the milkweed” 1944 (489×390)
Gorky-The betrothal II 1947
The Betrothal, II, 1947
Arshile Gorky, American (born Armenia), 1904 – 1948, The Liver is the Cock’s Comb, c. 1943
Oil on canvas 73 ¼ x 98 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

gorky at home
Gorky in Sherman, CT, 1948. [love his digs] Photograph by Ben Schnall. Courtesy of Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

This video is a short dramatization of his life. It’s interesting.

3 thoughts on “Arshile Gorky

  1. I’ll admit he’s not my favorite artist, but as a former Staten Islander and frequenter of SI landscapes – wherever I could find them – I find that painting really interesting! Love the photo of him in CT, too.


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