Arshile Gorky

Paintings and Drawings 1929-1942

October 27, 1998–January 9, 1999
980 Madison Avenue, New York

Arshile Gorky, Painting, 1942 Oil on canvas, 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 60.1 cm)

Arshile Gorky, Painting, 1942

Oil on canvas, 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 60.1 cm)


Opening Reception: Tuesday, October 27, 6 - 8pm

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings and drawings executed by Arshile Gorky between the years 1929 and 1942.

The show will be comprised of 17 paintings and 23 works on paper from this very influential period in Gorky's brief but potent career. It covers a decade where Gorky's inspirations synthesize to forge a radically new development in American art. Influences ranging from the Renaissance painter Paolo Uccello to Picasso, Miro and the surrealists can be seen in the work. As Michael Auping has asserted, it is during this time that Gorky establishes a complex formal vocabulary that acts as an important link between European surrealism and the development of Abstract Expressionism.

The exhibition contains pieces from some of Gorky's key serial works. Included are drawings and a painting from the group entitled Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia. This somber, dreamlike series combines bio-morphic abstraction with surrealism. Also included are two paintings and related drawings entitled Khorkom, named after Gorky's birthplace, a town in the Armenian province of Van. In three paintings from the well-known Garden in Sochi series of the early 1940s, Gorky invokes his father's garden in Armenia. His need to reconnect himself with his ancient homeland and with his idealized childhood provides the beguiling imagery that gives Gorky's work its unique quality.

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, with an essay by Donald Kuspit and commentaries by Matthew Spender and Melvin Lader.