Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Catalogue Entry

D1505
(Virginia Landscape)
1944
Graphite pencil and crayon on paper
19 x 25 in. (48.3 x 63.5 cm)
Recto, in pencil, lower right: A. Gorky / 1944 / [paraph]
Verso not seen
Private collection
Exhibitions
J. Millard Tawes Fine Arts Center, University of Maryland Art Department and Art Gallery, College Park, The Drawings of Arshile Gorky, March 20–April 27, 1969 (Exhibition catalogue: Joyner 1969), no. 23 (Drawings, Sketches, Gouaches), p. 53, as "Virginia Landscape."
Literature
Jordan, Jim. M. "Arshile Gorky at Crooked Run Farm." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed pp. 101–102, as "Landscape Drawing."
[Correction to Jim M. Jordan's "Arshile Gorky at Crooked Run Farm" (March 1976)]. Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 10 (June 1976), ill. in b/w, p. 110, as "Landscape Drawing."
Rathbone, Eliza E. "Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song." In American Art at Mid-Century: The Subjects of the Artist. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1978. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 42, ill. in b/w, p. 82; fig. 43, ill. in b/w. (detail), p. 82, as "Virginia Landscape."
Notes
The drawing was examined framed; no documentation of its verso has been made available.

Commentary

The drawing was a gift to Mary (1918–2011) and Thomas Taylor (1911–2001), neighbors of Gorky's in-laws' in Lincoln, Virginia, and their home, Crooked Run Farm, where the Gorky family spent several summers. In late October 1944, when Gorky's wife Agnes "Mougouch" (1921–2013) was hospitalized for a medical procedure and their daughter, Maro (b. 1943), had gone to stay with her grandparents in Washington D.C., Gorky remained in Lincoln in order to continue working. The Taylors were kind enough to invite him to join them for dinner each night of the week that Agnes was away and, in gratitude, the artist wished to give them a drawing.1

The Taylors came to Gorky's studio at Crooked Run Farm, located in a converted barn on the property, to receive their gift. He showed them the view through the barn door—a peach tree with fields in the distance—which had inspired him. As Mary later recalled, Gorky described the drawing to them as "almost realistic," with "a hay or straw rick," while remarking on the composition: "lines like this appear in fields when they've been mowed, and this represents water, of which there was none in the field. This is trees, this is the peach tree branch. This is a landscape just because you have a horizon here. It looks as if there's sky."2 

1. Jean McDonald, "Genius with a Wild and Tender Personality," The Loudon Times-Mirror (Leesburg, VA), October 11, 1962. 

2. Nouritza Matossian, Black Angel: The Life of Arshile Gorky (Woodstock and New York: The Overlook Press, 2000), 368.

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