Arshile Gorky Biography | Oil Paintings
4-15-1904 Khorgom, TUR - 7-21-1948 Sherman, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Originally named Vasdanig Manoog Adoian, Arshile Gorky was born at Khorkam Vari in Turkish Armenia. He survived the genocide perpetrated on the Armenians by the Turks during World War 1 and escaped to the West, settling in the USA in 1920. The death of his mother during one of the Turkish Atrocities had a profound influence on his art.
It was at this time that Arshile Gorky adopted his new name, taking the surname from the celebrated Russian writer Maxim Gorky. In America, he trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and continued his studies in Boston.
For several years his style was an exciting yet diverse blend of components drawn from Miro, Cezanne, Picasso, Matta and Andre Breton, and it was from Breton that he was pulled into Surrealism, concentrating a biomorphism (modeling creative components on shapes reminiscent of nature and living life forms), however later he built up his own unmistakable style which advanced Abstract Expressionism.
His paintings The Artist and His Mother are based on a childhood photograph taken in Van in which he is depicted standing beside his mother is memorable, moving and innovative portrait. Arshile Gorky made two versions. The painting has been compared to Ingres for straightforwardness of line and smoothness, to Cézanne for his flat level composition, and to Picasso for form and color.
From 1946, Gorky suffered a series of crises: his studio barn burned to the ground, he underwent a colostomy for malignant cancer, and his wife had an affair with Roberto Matta. As if that was not bad enough, in 1948, he had a series of unfortunate events, Gorky had an auto collision which broke his neck and temporarily paralyzed his painting arm, then his wife left him and took their children with her. He was so depressed and heartbroken that Arshile Gorky hanged himself in Sherman, Connecticut that same year at the age of 44.
Art Movement History: Abstract Expressionism.
Artists Influencing Arshile Gorky: Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne.
He Traveled To Russia, USA.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.