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Archile Gorky
Arshile Gorky is Armenian-born American painter, whose work combined geometric abstraction and quasi-figurative surrealism, and who acted as a major link between European surrealism and United States abstract expressionism.

Gorky was described by Andre Breton as the most important painter in American history.

Gorky was born Vosdanig Manoog Adoian at Khorkom, Van, Turkish Armenia (now in Turkey). In 1920 he emigrated to the United States and studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design and in Boston, Massachusetts.

He settled in New York City in 1925. His earliest work showed the influence of Paul Cezanne, European cubism, and especially Pablo Picasso.

To Gorky, art was nothing short of a necessity; he put his painting before all else, and when all else failed him, he relied upon painting to pull him through. He faced more than his share of misfortunes, which began in his early life and brought him to an early death.

In his art he sought to reclaim the past that had been stolen from him, and to shape his future, which always, and ultimately tragically, fell short of his expectations and ambitions.

Arshile Gorky takes his place among the tragic heroes of art history. A survivor of the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the twentieth century, he was haunted for the rest of his life by the specters of his lost homeland.

His vivid, expressionist masterpieces, which anticipated Abstract Expressionism by some 10 years and pioneered abstract art in North America, reflect his enormous suffering as an exile and outsider in America.

His work also shows the depth and breadth of his emotional capacity, and the intensity with which he experienced the brief interludes of joy and peace in his life.

Born Vosdanik Adoian on April 15, 1904, he later changed his name to Arshile Gorky when he moved to the U.S., for reasons both personal and practical. His birthplace was the now-demolished city of Khorkom, a tiny village near the beautiful Lake Van in the Western Armenian countryside.

His mother, Shoushan, introduced Gorky to art before he could even speak, taking him to admire Armenian architecture and ancient painted manuscripts.

When Gorky was only six years old, his father, Setrag Adoian, moved to America to find work, like many Armenian men who wanted to avoid conscription while sending money to support their families back home.

Gorky stayed with his mother and sisters in Armenia, moving with them first to Van, Old City, in 1910, and later to Aykesdan, Garden City.

This separation from his father caused Gorky to feel abandoned and estranged from Setrag for the rest of his life; meanwhile, Gorky"s nostalgia for home and especially for his mother, whom he described as "the queen of the aesthetic domain," influenced his work immensely.

He referenced the landscape of farm country, rolling hills, and sparkling lakes directly in his later works, such as The Plough and the Song, Garden in Sochi, and The Sun.

In addition, his mother is resurrected in two portraits, both entitled The Artist and his Mother, as well as in the seemingly abstract How my Mother"s Apron Unfolds in my Life.

The Armenian people had been ruled by the corrupt and tyrannical Ottoman Empire for three centuries, and their history of subjugation by Turkish peoples extends back to the fifteenth century.

The beginning of the twentieth century marked the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire, which was accompanied by mounting debt and political corruption.

Turkish leaders found a scapegoat in the Armenian people, gradually taking away their civil rights until in 1915 the systematic extermination of Turkey"s Armenian population was officially declared.

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Writer: News
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 13:16:44 

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