When I was at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York this weekend, I had the great pleasure of seeing several paintings by Arshile Gorky. It’s possible that I’ve seen paintings by him before but this time they really spoke to me. I love the way the shapes flow into each other and I love the colors. I love all the strange pictures that appear in Gorky’s paintings if you free your mind and just look. I knew I had to share this great artist with you.
Gorky was born in Armenia around 1904. In 1915 Gorky and his family fled Armenia but it was a difficult journey and his mother died. Gorky moved to the United States in 1920. For most of his life he missed his home country. He never stopped thinking about his mother.
Gorky learned art by studying the works of other artists. He studied the Impressionists, then the Cubists, and finally the Surrealists as he developed his own style. He studied art formally at the New School of Design in Boston, Massachusetts.
Gorky began by painting somewhat realistic scenes, like the Impressionists. One example is The Artist and His Mother.
Paintings like Organization show how Cubism influenced Gorky’s style.
He is most important, however, for his influence on later artists. By the end of his life, his paintings consisted of rounded, free-form shapes. Garden in Sochi is one example, Golden Brown is another. The style of these later paintings became known as Abstract Expressionism. Gorky’s personal style influenced many other Abstract Expressionists.