Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Photo: Katherine Du Tiel; © The Arshile Gorky Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
P068
Greek Torso
c. 1928–29
Oil on canvas
36 1/8 x 46 in. (91.8 x 116.8 cm)
Front, lower left: A. Gorky 1926
Reverse not seen
Exhibitions
Guild Art Gallery, New York, Group Exhibition of Paintings, May 25–June 30, 1936, no. 7, as Greek Torso.
San Francisco Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky, August 9–24, 1941, as "Torso," dated 1926.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Arshile Gorky Memorial Exhibition, January 5–February 18, 1951, no. 3, ill. in b/w, p. 11; p. 46, as "The Antique Cast," dated 1926. Traveled to: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, March 4–April 22, 1951; San Francisco Museum of Art, California, May 9–July 9, 1951.
Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey, Arshile Gorky: A Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, October 6–26, 1952, no. 2, as "The Antique Cast," dated 1926.
University Art Museum, University of Texas at Austin, Arshile Gorky: Drawings to Paintings, October 12–November 23, 1975 (Exhibition catalogue: University of Texas at Austin 1975), p. 103, as "The Antique Cast," dated 1926, [exhibited in Austin and San Francisco only]. Traveled to: San Francisco Museum of Art, December 4, 1975–January 12, 1976; Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, State University of New York, February 10–March 14, 1976; Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, New York, April 4–May 9, 1976.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 2, ill. in b/w, p. 63, as "The Antique Cast," dated 1926. Traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, September 11–November 8, 1981; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 3, 1981–February 28, 1982.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Toward a New Museum: Recent Acquisitions in Painting and Sculpture, 1985–1991, 1991, p. 20, as "The Antique Cast."
Fresno Art Museum and the Armenian Museum, California, Vosdanik Manouk Adoian a.k.a. Arshile Gorky, April 7–June 4, 2006, no. 3, ill. in color, p. 21, as "The Antique Cast."
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, October 15, 2009–January 10, 2010, no. 3, ill. in color, p. 162, as "The Antique Cast." Traveled to: Tate Modern, London, February 10–May 3, 2010. (Gale 2010).; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 6–September 20, 2010.
Literature
Burrows, Carlyle. "A Group Show." New York Herald Tribune, May 31, 1936, discussed, p. E8, as Greek Torso.
E.G. [Emily Genauer]. "Paintings by Anna Walinska." New York World-Telegram, June 6, 1936, discussed, as Greek Torso.
Klein, Jerome. "Review." New York Post, June 6 1936, discussed, as Greek Torso.
Sayre, Ann H. "Walinska, Forbes, Gorky and Others." Artnews (New York) 34 (June 6, 1936), discussed p. 9, as Greek Torso.
Devree, Howard. "Ushered in With June—First Exhibition by Index of American Design—New Group and One-Man Shows." New York Times, May 31, 1936, discussed, p. X7, as Greek Torso.
Loftus, John. "Arshile Gorky: A Monograph." M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, New York, 1952, pl. I, ill. in b/w, as "The Antique Cast."
Schwabacher, Ethel. Arshile Gorky. New York: The Macmillan Company for the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1957. Monograph, fig. 5, ill. in b/w, p. 33, as "The Antique Cast," dated 1926.
Sarkissian, Mardiros. "Arshile Gorky—A Struggle for Recognition." Review of Arshile Gorky, by Ethel K. Schwabacher. Hoosharar (New York, Amherst and Northampton, MA) 45, no. 3 (February 1, 1958), ill. in b/w, p. 9, as "The Antique Cast."
Reiff, Robert F. "A Stylistic Analysis of Arshile Gorky's Art from 1943–1948." Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1961, fig. 6, ill. in b/w, p. 284, as "The Antique Cast."
Kainen, Jacob. "Memories of Arshile Gorky." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed p. 96, as "The Antique Cast."
Waldman, Diane. "Arshile Gorky: Poet in Paint." In Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in collaboration with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1981. Exhibition catalogue, discussed p. 22, as "The Antique Cast."
Jordan, Jim M. "The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: New Discoveries, New Sources, and Chronology." In The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue, by Jim M. Jordan and Robert Goldwater. New York and London: New York University Press, 1982, discussed pp. 31–32, 89, as "The Antique Cast."
Jordan, Jim M. "Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings." In The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue, by Jim M. Jordan and Robert Goldwater. New York and London: New York University Press, 1982, no. 68, ill. in b/w, pp. 192–93, as "The Antique Cast."
Seitz, William C. Abstract Expressionist Painting in America. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press for the National Gallery of Art, 1983, fig. 45, ill. in b/w, as "The Antique Cast."
Beredjiklian, Alexandre. Arshile Gorky: sept thèmes majeurs. Suresnes, France: Alphamédian & Johanet; Lisbon: Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, 2007. Monograph, discussed pp. 24, 33, 52, as "Le moulage antique."
Notes
The reverse is covered by a backing board; no documentation of the reverse of the original canvas has been made available. The stretcher bars have been replaced.

Commentary

The painting is after Henri Matisse's (1869–1954) 1908 painting L'Ilyssus du Parthénon (location unknown), a color reproduction of which Gorky owned; an identical colorplate was published in the March 1927 issue of the magazine The Dial.1 As the only known color reproduction of the painting printed during Gorky's lifetime, this was likely his source. Gorky's friend, the artist Jacob Kainen (1909–2001) recalled seeing the painting during a visit to Gorky's studio in 1934: "he pulled out The Antique Cast [P068], a painting so reminiscent of Matisse's Still Life with Greek Torso of 1908 that at first I almost believed it was the original Matisse, which I knew from reproductions. Then I realized that the composition and color scheme were entirely different—Gorky had absorbed Matisse without copying him. . . . He seemed pleased when I identified Matisse as the source."2

Gorky often backdated his paintings and also frequently reworked the same canvas over many years. Here, "1926" inscribed at lower left likely refers to the former scenario. Stylistically, it is more likely that the painting was completed c. 1928–29. It should be noted that when he loaned the painting to the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1941 for his first solo museum exhibition, he gave it the date of 1926.3  

When the Austrian-American artist Mina Boehm Metzger (1877–1975), an early pupil and devoted patron of Gorky's, purchased this painting from the artist's dealer Julien Levy (1906–1981) on July 5, 1947, Gorky received a total of $960 after the subtracted 20 percent sales commission.

1. The image appears between a "comment" by J.S.W. [James Sibley Watson] on Thomas Craven's essay, "Photography and Painting," and an essay by George Saintsbury, "Irony," The Dial LXXXII (March 1927): 181–87. J.S.W. [James Sibley Watson], "Comment," in ibid: 180; the comment is written in response to: Thomas Craven, "Photography and Painting," The Dial LXXIX (September 1925): 195–202.

2. Jacob Kainen, "Memories of Arshile Gorky," ARTS Magazine 50, no. 7 (March 1976): 96.

3. Typed shipping manifest, August 5, 1941, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Archives.

Henri Matisse, Still-Life with Statue (L'Ilyssus du Parthénon), 1908, oil on canvas (24 x 28¾ in.). Original color reproduction from Gorky's library.
Photo: © 2021 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

After works by other artists: Matisse

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