Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Catalogue Entry

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Photo: Courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington
P114
(The Artist and His Mother)
c. 1926–42
Oil on canvas
59 15/16 x 50 in. (152.2 x 127 cm)
Not inscribed
Exhibitions
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 33 Paintings by Arshile Gorky, December 2–28, 1957 (Exhibition catalogue: Sidney Janis Gallery 1957), no. 2, ill. in b/w, as "Portrait of the Artist as "a Boy, with his Mother."
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, December 19, 1962–February 12, 1963, no. 17, ill. in b/w, p. 18, as "The Artist and His Mother." Traveled to: Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C, March 12–April 14, 1963.
Art Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (organizer), The Painter and the Photograph, 1964–65, no. 16a, ill. in b/w, p. 30; discussed pp. 29–30, as "The Artist and His Mother." Traveled to: Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, October 5–November 2, 1964; Museum of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, November 15–December 20, 1964; Art Gallery, State University of Iowa, Iowa City, January 3–February 10, 1965; Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, February 28–March 22, 1965; Art Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, April 1–May 7, 1965; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, May 19–June 21, 1965.
Arts Council of Great Britain, London (organizer), Tate Gallery, Arshile Gorky: Paintings and Drawings, April 2–May 2, 1965, no. 19, ill. in b/w, as "The Artist and His Mother," dated c. 1926–36.
Arts Council of Great Britain, London (organizer), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Arshile Gorky, Paintings and Drawings / Arshile Gorky: Schilderijen en Tekeningen, May 22–June 27, 1965, no. 19, ill. in b/w, as "De kunstenaar en zijn moeder / The artist and his mother," dated c. 1926–1936. Traveled to: Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 24–September 5, 1965. (Museum Boymans van Beuingen 1965)..
Arts Council of Great Britain, London (organizer), Modern Spirit: American Painting 1908–1935, 1977, no. 151, as "The Artist and His Mother." Traveled to: Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, August 20–September 11, 1977; Hayward Gallery, London, September 28–November 20, 1977.
Kunsthaus Zurich, Malerei und Photographie im Dialog von 1840 bis Heute, May 13–July 24, 1977, no. 54, ill. in b/w, p. 31, as "Doppelporträt "Arshile Gorky mit seiner Mutter"."
Xavier Fourcade Inc, New York, Arshile Gorky: Important Paintings and Drawings, April 3–28, 1979, ill. in color, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 76, ill. in color, p. 123, as "The Artist and His Mother," dated c. 1929–42. Traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, September 11–November 8, 1981; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 3, 1981–February 28, 1982.
Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, October 17–December 23, 1989, no. 9, ill. in color, p. 71, as "The Artist and His Mother." Traveled to: Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, January 19–March 25, 1990.
Museum Bochum, Germany, Armenien: Wiederentdeckung einer alten Kulturlandschaft, January 14–April 17, 1995, no. 321, ill. in color, p. 393, as "Der Künstler und seine Mutter."
Gagosian Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky: Portraits, March 20–April 27, 2002, ill. in color, p. 25, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Fresno Art Museum and the Armenian Museum, California, Vosdanik Manouk Adoian a.k.a. Arshile Gorky, April 7–June 4, 2006, no. 1, ill. in color, p. 19, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, October 15, 2009–January 10, 2010, no. 33, ill. in color, p. 191, as "The Artist and His Mother." Traveled to: Tate Modern, London, February 10–May 3, 2010. (Gale 2010).; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 6–September 20, 2010.
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, Collection Conversations: Arshile Gorky: Between Worlds, July 1–October 18, 2015, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C, The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement, June 22–September 22, 2019, as "The Artist and His Mother."
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900, July 10–October 31, 2022, no. 18, ill. in color, p. 75, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Literature
Coates, Robert M. "The Art Galleries." The New Yorker 33 (December 14, 1957), discussed p. 141, as "Portrait of the Artist as "a Boy, with his Mother."
Sawin, Martica. "Arshile Gorky." Arts Magazine (New York) 32, no. 3 (December 1957), discussed p. 52, as "Portrait of the Artist as "a Boy, with his Mother."
Schiff, Bennett. "In the Art Galleries." New York Post, December 8, 1957, ill. in b/w, p. M12, as "Portrait of the Artist as "a Boy, with his Mother."
Schuyler, James. "Reviews and Previews: Arshile Gorky." Artnews (New York) 56 (December 1957), discussed p. 10, as "Artist and His Mother."
Devree, Howard. "Diverse Moderns: Growth of the Niarchos Collection—Gorky in Retrospect—Others." New York Times, December 8, 1957, discussed p. 24, as "a memory portrait of himself as a boy with his mother."
Ashton, Dore. "Lettre de New York." Arts & Architecture (Los Angeles) 75, no. 1 (January 1958), discussed p. 6, as "Portrait of the Artist as "a Boy, with his Mother."
Osborn, Margaret. "The Mystery of Arshile Gorky: A Personal Account." Artnews (New York) 61, no. 10 (February 1963), ill. in b/w, p. 42, as "The Artist and His Mother."
White, Jean M. "Modern Art Gallery to Open Exhibit." The Washington Post, March 8, 1963, ill. in b/w, p. A7, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Hoyland, Francis. "The composer." The Listener (London) (April 15, 1965), ill. in b/w p. 568, as "The Artist and his Mother."
Roberts, Keith. "Major Retrospective at the Tate." The Burlington Magazine (London) 107, no. 746 (May 1965), discussed p. 271, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Russell, John. "Getting through to Gorky." The Sunday Times (London), April 11, 1965, discussed, as "The Artist and his Mother."
Spencer, Charles S. "Gorky Art On View In London." New York Times International, April 13, 1965, discussed, as "Artist and His Mother."
Levy, Julien. Arshile Gorky. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966. Monograph, pl. 20, ill. in b/w, p. 44, as "The Artist and His Mother," dated 1929–36.
Jordan, Jim. M. "Arshile Gorky at Crooked Run Farm." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed p. 103 fn23, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Quaytman, Harvey. "Arshile Gorky's Early Paintings." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed p. 105, as "Artist and his Mother."
Lucie-Smith, Edward. "The birth of American Modernism." Illustrated London News 265 (November 26, 1977), discussed, p. 85, as "The Artist and His Mother No 2."
Gibson, Eric. "Arshile Gorky." Art International (Paris) 23 (Summer 1979), discussed p. 77, as "The Artist and His Mother."
MacMillan, Duncan. "The Outsider: Gorky and America." Art International (Paris) 20 (Summer 1979), ill. in color, p. 104, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Richard, Paul. "Artful Melodies of Pain." The Washington Post, June 2, 1979, ill. in b/w, p. C1, as "Portrait of the Artist and His Mother."
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1980, ill. in b/w, p. 166, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Rand, Harry. Arshile Gorky: The Implication of Symbols. London and Montclair, N.J.: George Prior and Allanheld & Schram, 1980, 1981. Monograph, fig. 2–12, ill. in b/w, p. 24, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1980, no. 61, ill. in color, p. 161, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Levin, Gail. "ART." The Village Voice (New York), May 6–12, 1981, discussed, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Morgan, S. "Becoming Arshile Gorky." Artscribe (London), no. 31 (October 1981), ill. in b/w, p. 18, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Spender, Matthew. "The Originality of Gorky." Art/World (New York) (May 23 / June 20, 1981), discussed p. 6, as "Artist and His Mother."
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 pp. 14, 33–36, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Karp, Diane. "Arshile Gorky: The Language of Art." Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1982, fig. 22, ill. in b/w, p. 190, as "The Artist and His Mother."
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. 49, 51, 53–57, as "The Artist and His Mother."
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. 114, ill. in b/w, pp. 242, 244, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Lader, Melvin P. "Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother: Further Study of Its Evolution, Sources, and Meaning." Arts Magazine (New York) 58 (January 1984), fig. 3, ill. in b/w, p. 98, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art. Forward by J. Carter Brown. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1984, no. 952, ill. in color, p. 616, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Lader, Melvin P. Arshile Gorky. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985. Monograph, fig. 28, ill. in color, p. 33; ill. in color (detail), cover, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Kuspit, Donald. "Arshile Gorky: Images in Support of the Invented Self." In Abstract Expressionism: The Critical Developments. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 1, ill. in color, p. 48, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art (Revised and Enlarged Edition). New York: Hudson Hills Press, Inc., 1988, fig. 71, ill. in color, p. 189, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Frankel, Claire. "Gorky: Tragic Lyricism." International Herald Tribune (Paris), March 10–11, 1990, discussed, p. 7, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Golding, John. "Arshile Gorky: The Search for Self." In Arshile Gorky: 1904–1948. London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1990. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 3, ill. in b/w, p. 15, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Anfam, David. "Convulsive Images." Art International (Paris) 11 (Summer 1990), discussed p. 100, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Rand, Harry. Arshile Gorky: The Implication of Symbols. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991. Monograph, fig. 2–12, ill. in b/w, p. 27, as "The Artist and His Mother."
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1992, ill. in b/w, p. 188, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Ash, John. "Arshile Gorky: How My Mother's Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life, 1944." Artforum (New York) 34 (September 1995), discussed p. 79, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Balakian, Peter. "Arshile Gorky and the Armenian Genocide." Art in America (New York) 84 (February 1996), ill. in color, p. 59, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Matossian, Nouritza. "Arshile Gorky's Lost World: A Personal Quest for the Armenian Sources of Gorky's Art." Modern Painters (New York) 11 (Winter 1998), ill. in color, p. 74, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Matossian, Nouritza. Black Angel: The Life of Arshile Gorky. London: Chatto & Windus, 1998, color pl. 1, ill., as "The Artist and His Mother."
Schuyler, James. "Arshile Gorky." Artnews (New York) 56 (December 1957). In Selected Art Writings: James Schuyler, Simon Pettet, ed. Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1998, discussed p. 123, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Maeda, Robert J. "Noguchi and Gorky: American Outsiders." Amerasia Journal (Los Angeles) 27 (2001), fig. 1, ill. in b/w, p. 30; discussed p. 34, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Kunitz, Daniel. "Gallery Chronicle." The New Criterion (New York) 20 (May 2002), discussed pp. 49–50, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Herrera, Hayden. Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003, fig. 5, ill. in color, as "The Artist and His Mother."
FitzGerald, Michael. "Picasso and American Art: Chapter Three (1930–1939)." In Picasso and American Art. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2006. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 57, ill. in b/w, p. 121; discussed pp. 114–15, 143, 162, 164, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Beredjiklian, Alexandre. Arshile Gorky: sept thèmes majeurs. Suresnes, France: Alphamédian & Johanet; Lisbon: Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, 2007. Monograph, discussed p. 21, as "L'artiste et sa mère."
Cooksey, Chelsea L. "Arshile Gorky: The Abstraction of Symbol, Figure, and Form." M.A. Thesis, Purchase College, State University of New York, 2009, fig. 48, ill. in color, p. 79, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Matttison, Robert S. Arshile Gorky: Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafica, 2009. Monograph, ill. in color, p. 24, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Theriault, Kim S. Rethinking Arshile Gorky. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009. Monograph, pl. 2, ill. in color, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Theriault, Kim S. "Exile, Trauma, and Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother." In Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, Kathleen Krattenmaker, ed. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 29, ill. in color (detail), p. 52, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Alberro, Alexander. "The Apprenticeship of Arshile Gorky: On Arshile Gorky at the Philadelphia Museum of Art." Texte zur Kunst (Cologne) 77 (March 2010), discussed pp. 147, 210, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Gale, Matthew. Arshile Gorky: Enigma and Nostalgia. London: Tate Publishing, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2009–10 Philadelphia), no. 6, ill. in color, p. 23, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Jury, Louise. "Remembering a Mother at Tate." Evening Standard (London), February 9, 2010, discussed p. 27, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Weston, Neville. "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective." Craft Arts International (Neutral Bay Junction, N.S.W.) 79 (2010), ill. in color, p. 85, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Agee, William C. "Graham, Gorky, de Kooning: A New Classicism, an Alternate Modernism." In American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, de Kooning, and Their Circle, 1927–1942. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 42, ill. in b/w, p. 138, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Taylor, Lindsey. "A Flower Arrangement Inspired by Arshile Gorky." Wall Street Journal (online edition) (New York), June 24, 2016, ill. in color, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Spender, Matthew, ed. Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song: A Life in Letters and Documents. Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2018, ill. in color, p. 166, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Devaney, Edith. "Gorky's Point of View / Il Punto di Vista di Gorky." In Arshile Gorky: 1904–1948. Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2019. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 2, ill. in color, p. 32, as "The Artist and His Mother / L'artista e sua madre."
Robbins, Christa Noel. Artist as Author: Action and Intent in Late-Modernist American Painting. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2021, fig. 1.3, ill. in b/w, p. 35; discussed pp. 34–35, 37, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Meyer, James. "The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900." In The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900. Washington, D.C, Princeton, and Oxford: National Gallery of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2022. Exhibition catalogue, discussed pp. 23–24, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Saenger, Peter. "The Power of Seeing Double." Wall Street Journal (New York), July 2–3, 2022, ill. in color, p. C14, as "The Artist and His Mother."
Notes
The reverse inscription information is known from a photograph provided by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Commentary

The painting is after a black-and-white photograph of Gorky and his mother Shushan Der Marderosian Adoian (1880–1919) (see supplementary image). The c. 1912 photograph was intended as a memento for the artist's father Setrag Adoian (c. 1871–1948) who had immigrated to the United States in 1906 and to whom it was sent. A second, more polished version of the painting, believed to have been reworked by Gorky until approximately 1936 but likely finished c. 1934, is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (P115). For extensive remarks regarding Gorky's reworking of both canvases, as well as recollections by his contemporaries, see the commentary for P115.

According to his wife Agnes "Mougouch" (1921–2013), Gorky continued to occasionally rework this painting into the early 1940s.1 In conversation with Gorky scholar Jim M. Jordan, she recalled that "it was a period before he went back to landscape and he was looking from material within his own studio, from his own paintings."2 During this period, according to Mougouch, he not only reworked P114 but also a number of other portrait paintings originating from the 1930s, including, for example, P108, P196, and P192.   

In an interview from 1966, the artist John Ferren (1905–1970), who met Gorky in 1936, recalled seeing either P114 or P115 in the artist’s studio in the mid-to-late 1930s, at which time, Gorky is said to have remarked upon his “drawing [sic] it and re-doing it and re-drawing for many years [see related work].”

1. Agnes Gorky Fielding, as quoted in Jim M. Jordan, "Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings," in Jim M. Jordan and Robert Goldwater, The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue (New York and London: New York University Press, 1982), 242.

2. Ibid, 345.

3. John Ferren, interview by Karlen Mooradian, Arshile Gorky/Mooradian Archive, Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, New York; John Ferren, "Conversations on Gorky," interview by Karlen Mooradian, May 4, 1966, The Many Worlds of Arshile Gorky (Chicago: Gilgamesh, 1980), 140.

Gorky and his mother, Shushan Der Marderosian Adoian, Van, c. 1912. Unknown photographer. Courtesy of Dr. Bruce Berberian.

Portraits (sitter identified): Shushan der Marderosian (artist's mother)

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