Armenian Homeland Permeates the Painting of Arshile Gorky

By Leslie Albrecht Popiel, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 11, 1995 | Go to article overview

Armenian Homeland Permeates the Painting of Arshile Gorky


Leslie Albrecht Popiel, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


My beloveds, Vartoosh, Moorad and little Karlen,

I wish that we were together now so that we could speak of the homeland....

Images of distant homelands reveal themselves in the work of many emigre artists. Perhaps none was so influenced by these memories - almost overpowered by them - as Arshile Gorky.

"Arshile Gorky: The Breakthrough Years," an excellent collection of about 40 oils and drawings by the Armenian-born artist, is being exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington through Sept. 17. This particular group of works represents Gorky's mature years, 1941-48, during which he became established as a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, a movement that produced such artists as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

On exhibit are works from Gorky's dramatic and prolific last years leading up to the taking of his own life. While enigmatic, his paintings are also intensely personal, reflecting the inner turmoil of the artist as he struggled with both the tragedy and beauty of his childhood, and reconciled his past with the present.

"At their most poignant level, {Gorky's} images resulted from an intense need to connect memories of his ancient homeland of Armenia with his new American home ..." explains curator Michael Auping in an essay about the artist. "For exiles and refugees, however, identities do not come easily. Indeed, there are only a few fairy-tale stories in this regard, and Gorky's is not one of them."

Though Gorky spent most of his life in the United States, his native Armenia was never far from his thoughts. "... Sweet Vartoosh," Gorky wrote to his sister, who also emigrated, in 1942, "loving memories of our garden in Armenia's Khorkom haunt me frequently.... Beloved sister, in my art I often draw our garden and re-create its precious greenery and life. Can a son forget the soil which sires him...."

Not only could Gorky not forget, but he also seems to have been driven to express these images: gardens, fields, trees, a waterfall.

Born Vosdanig Adoian in 1905, the artist's young life was a string of tragic events. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Armenian Homeland Permeates the Painting of Arshile Gorky
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.