Monday, March 22, 2021

Vostanik Manoog Adoyan (1904 – 1948): Also known as Arshile Gorky

The artist Arshile Gorky played a central role in the development of Abstract Expressionism during the 1940s. Gorky was born Vostanik Manoog Adoyan in the small village of Khorkom in Turkish Armenia. His father fled to the United States to avoid the draft when Gorky was still a boy.

With the advent of Armenian genocide of 1915, the family moved to the Soviet-controlled Yerevan, where the artist’s mother soon died of starvation, inspiring a lengthy series of sincere and touching portraits in the oeuvre of the late Gorky.

Gorky was not reunited with his father until 1920, when he arrived with his sister in the United States after witnessing the death of his mother at the hands of Turkish militants.

In 1922, he enrolled in the New School of Design in Boston, and, upon graduation, became a part-time instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1925, he moved to New York City and adopted the pseudonym Arshile Gorky, claiming to be a relative of the Russian writer, Maxim Gorky.

In New York City, Gorky studied at the Grand Central Art School, quickly rising from the position of student to educator. His works during this time reflected the current Modernist style and the mature styles of Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso.

The artist was drawing daily, using various means, among them pencils, crayons, pens and watercolors. He washed his drawings in the bathtub, hung them up to dry, and then scraped and sanded their surfaces.

By the thirties Gorky was recognized as a leader by Willem de Kooning and David Smith, among others, but it was only in 1939 that he entered his most fruitful period and developed the style known as Abstract Surrealism.

In 1941, Gorky began integrating turpentine into his paints in order to loosen the structure and allow more freedom with form.

Works of Arshile Gorky including:
*Virginia summer 1946
*Landscape in the Manner of Cézanne (1927)
*Landscape, Staten Island (1927–1928)
*The Artist and His Mother, (ca. 1926–1936)
*Nighttime, Enigma, Nostalgia (1930–1934)

Afflicted by depression, financial worries, cancer and paralysis of his painting arm, he died by suicide in 1948.
Vostanik Manoog Adoyan (1904 – 1948): Also known as Arshile Gorky

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