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Garden in Sochi

1940
Watercolor and gouache on balsa wood
12.9 x 18.6 cm / 5 1/8 x 7 3/8 in
Recto, signed lower left: ‘A.Gorky’

USD 900,000

Arshile Gorky

Arshile Gorky was born an ethnic Armenian in Ottoman Anatolia in c.1904. Fleeing the genocide that claimed the life of his mother, he emigrated to the United States as a teenage refugee in 1920. After five years with relatives in Massachusetts, Gorky moved to New York and changed his name in honor of the celebrated Russian poet. Refusing all categories, whether artistic or political, as necessarily reductive, Gorky forsook assimilation in favor of celebrating his otherness, becoming a central figure of the cultural milieu of a city on the brink of Modernism.

Garden in Sochi

In Arshile Gorky’s ‘Garden in Sochi’ (1940) a fantastical swarm of strange, vibrantly hued biomorphic forms—humanoid, bird-like and vegetal, seemingly captured mid-metamorphosis—are suspended within a buttery yellow field. Extending from a series dedicated to the theme of ‘Garden in Sochi’, a body of abstract works set on varied colored grounds created between 1939 and 1943, this particular work situates Gorky during a significant period of stylistic transition. [Figs. 1-3] Although inspired by the artist’s earliest childhood memories in Armenia, this fluid, abstract composition suggests not a landscape per se, but a coalescence and culmination of iconography derived from the natural world, autobiography, and artistic heroes.

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‘The eye spring...’ André Breton once said of his friend, ‘Gorky is for me the first painter to whom this secret has been completely revealed.’

The Eye-Spring

A seminal figure in the shift to abstraction that transformed twentieth-century American art, this documentary provides an introduction to the career, influence and powerful visual language of Arshile Gorky (1904 – 1948). ‘The Eye-Spring’ is directed by Gorky’s granddaughter Cosima Spender, and features Harry Cooper, Senior Curator and Head of Modern Art at National Gallery of Art, Washington; Maro Gorky, daughter of the artist; Gorky’s widow, Agnes Magruder (later Agnes Gorky Fielding); and Matthew Spender, editor of ‘Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song’.

Arshile Gorky & Jack Whitten

Two consummate master artists of the 20th century are shown together in this online exhibition inspired by Whitten himself, who paid tribute to Gorky in a speech he gave in 2017. Whitten described the experience of looking at Gorky’s work as, ‘witnessing something that comes from the deep soul of an artist.’

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