Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea

Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea

Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea

Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea

Excerpt

BY WHATEVER MEASURE one ranks the founders of contemporary American abstract art, Arshile Gorky has a place on the top row. In different ways, he influenced several who were to become most influential: de Kooning, Pollock, Rothko, Nakian. His own work is almost a visual metaphor of the digestion of European painting on this side of the Atlantic and its conversion into a new substance. Not least, Gorky supplied a definitive image in the romance of post-War American painting: his embattled apprenticeship in Greenwich Village and Union Square, his sudden rise to fashionable Connecticut and the international art set, his sad end in a suicide motivated by illness, jealousy, and despair, constitute virtually the exemplary fable of the artist in our time. The familiar . . .

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