Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Photo: © Courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
P115
The Artist and His Mother
c. 1926–36
Oil on canvas
60 x 50 1/4 in. (152.4 x 127.6 cm)
Front, lower right: A. Gorky / [paraph] / 26–9
Reverse not seen
Exhibitions
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fourteen Americans, September 10–December 8, 1946 (Exhibition catalogue: Miller 1946), no. 30, p. 77, as The Artist and His Mother.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Arshile Gorky Memorial Exhibition, January 5–February 18, 1951, no. 4, ill. in b/w, p. 13; p. 46, as The Artist and His Mother, dated 1926–29. 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. 3, as The Artist and His Mother, dated 1926–29.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, New York, Portraiture: the 19th and 20th Centuries, March 31–April 21, 1957, no. 18, p. 30, as The Artist and His Mother. Traveled to: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1957; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Texas, June 30–August 18, 1957; Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs.
XXXI Biennale di Venezia: Internazionale d'Arte, U.S. Pavillion, Venice, Italy, Arshile Gorky, June 16–October 7, 1962, no. 1, ill. in b/w, pl. 89; p. 113, as "Autoritratto con la madre."
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, December 19, 1962–February 12, 1963, no. 18, ill. in b/w, p. 19, as The Artist and His Mother. Traveled to: Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C, March 12–April 14, 1963.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, The New Tradition: Modern Americans Before 1940, April 27–June 2, 1963, no. 41, ill. in b/w, p. 35; p. 59, as The Artist and His Mother.
Public Education Association, New York (organizer), Seven Decades, 1895–1965: Crosscurrents in Modern Art, April 16–May 21, 1966, no. 152, ill. in color, p. 90, as The Artist and His Mother.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The 1930's: Painting and Sculpture in America, October 15–December 1, 1968, no. 38, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Twentieth Century: 35 American Artists, An Exhibition of Works from the Permanent Collection, July 1–September 29, 1974, as The Artist and His Mother.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C, The Golden Door: Artist Immigrants of America 1876–1976, May 20–October 20, 1976, no. 67, ill. in color, p. 197, as The Artist and His Mother.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Introduction to 20th Century American Art, October 10, 1978–September 23, 1979 (Exhibition brochure: Bulletin of the Whitney Museum of American Art 1980c), as The Artist and His Mother.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 75, ill. in color, p. 122, as The Artist and His Mother, dated 1926–36. Traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, September 11–November 8, 1981; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 3, 1981–February 28, 1982.
Whitney Museum of American Art at Equitable Center, New York, American Masters: Six Artists from the Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, January 10–March 18, 1992, ill. in color, cover, as The Artist and His Mother. Traveled to: Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, Stamford, Connecticut, April 17–June 17, 1992.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Abject Art: Repulsion and Desire in American Art. Selections from the Permanent Collection, June 23–August 29, 1993, ill. in b/w, p. 16, as The Artist and His Mother.
Gagosian Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky: Portraits, March 20–April 27, 2002, ill. in color, p. 21, detail pp. 2–3, 18–19, as The Artist and His Mother.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Picasso and American Art, September 28, 2006–January 28, 2007, pl. 53, ill. in color, p. 120; p. 384, as The Artist and His Mother. Traveled to: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, February 25–May 28, 2007; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 17–September 9, 2007.
Diocesan Center, Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern), New York, Art @ the Cathedral: Giving Form to Faith, June 19, 2008.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, October 15, 2009–January 10, 2010, no. 32, ill. in color, p. 190, 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.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900, July 10–October 31, 2022, no. 17, ill. in color, p. 74, as The Artist and His Mother.
Literature
Hunter, Sam. "Chiefly Abstract." New York Times, November 21, 1948, discussed p. X9, as "Self Portrait with Mother."
A.F. "Gorky Art On View at S.F. Museum." Pictorial Review (New York) (June 1951), discussed p. 25, as "Artist With His Mother."
Coates, Robert. "The Art Galleries." The New Yorker 26, no. 48 (January 20, 1951), discussed p. 60, as The Artist and His Mother.
de Kooning, Elaine. "Gorky: Painter of his Own Legend." ARTnews (New York) 49, no. 9 (January 1951), ill. in b/w, p. 39, as The Artist and His Mother.
Goodrich, Lloyd. "Eight Works by Arshile Gorky with Notes by Lloyd Goodrich." Magazine of Art (Washington, D.C.) 44 (February 1951), ill. in b/w, p. 59, as The Artist and His Mother.
"Gorky: Was He Tops or Second Rate." Art Digest (New York) 25 (January 15, 1951), ill. in b/w, p. 9, as The Artist and His Mother.
Loftus, John. "Arshile Gorky: A Monograph." M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, New York, 1952, pl. IX, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Seitz, William C. "A Gorky Exhibit." The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), October 14, 1952, discussed p. 2, as "the large portrait of the artist as a child with his mother."
Mooradian, Karlen. "Arshile Gorky." Armenian Review (Watertown, MA) 8, no. 2 (Summer 1955), ill. in b/w, p. 51, as The Artist and His Mother.
Goodrich, Lloyd. "Arshile Gorky." In New Art in America, John I.H. Baur, ed. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1957, ill. in color, p. 190, as The Artist and His Mother.
Schwabacher, Ethel. Arshile Gorky. New York: The Macmillan Company for the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1957. Monograph, pl. I, ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Whitney Museum of American Art. Whitney Museum of American Art: Catalogue of the Collection. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1960, discussed p. 278, as The Artist and His Mother.
Reiff, Robert F. "A Stylistic Analysis of Arshile Gorky's Art from 1943–1948." Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1961, fig. 4, ill. in b/w, p. 282, as The Artist and His Mother.
Rosenberg, Harold. "Arshile Gorky, His Art and His Influence." Portfolio & Artnews Annual (New York), no. 5 (1961), ill. in color, p. 101, as The Artist and His Mother.
Boatto, Alberto. "L'itinerario di Gorky." Arte Oggi (Rome) 14 (June–December 1962), discussed p. 11, as "L'artista e sua madre."
Goldwater, Robert. "The Genius of the Moujik." Review of Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea, by Harold Rosenberg. Saturday Review (New York) 45 (May 19, 1962), ill. in b/w, p. 38, as The Artist and His Mother.
"At the Venice Biennale . . ." New York Herald Tribune (Paris), June 20, 1962, ill. in b/w, p. 6, as "Artist and His Mother."
O'Hara, Frank. "Art Chronicle." Kulchur (New York) 2, no. 6 (Summer 1962), discussed p. 55, as "Portrait of the Artist as "a Boy, with his Mother."
"Art." Show (Hartford, CT) 2, no. 12 (December 1962), ill. in b/w (detail), p. 37, as The Artist and His Mother.
Rosenberg, Harold. Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea. New York: Horizon Press, 1962. Monograph, ill. in b/w, p. 21, as The Artist and His Mother.
Micacchi, Dario. "Enigma e nostalgia di Archile Gorky." l'Unità (Rome), July 14, 1962. In Color and Rhyme nos. 51 and 52 (1962–63). Hampton Bays, NY, ill. in b/w (detail), p. 8, as "L'artista e sua madre."
Alloway, Lawrence. "Gorky." Artforum (New York) 1, no. 9 (March 1963), ill. in b/w, p. 28, as The Artist and 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.
Preston, Stuart. "New York." The Burlington Magazine (London) 105, no. 719 (February 1963), ill. in b/w, p. 76, as The Artist and His Mother.
Rosenberg, Harold. "The Art Galleries: Art and Identity: The Unfinished Masterpiece." The New Yorker 38, no. 46 (January 5, 1963), discussed pp. 70–71, 74–77, as The Artist and His Mother.
Genauer, Emily. "Painting What The Camera Saw." New York Herald Tribune, October 25, 1964, ill. in b/w, p. 33, as The Artist and His Mother.
Rosenberg, Harold. "Arshile Gorky: Art and Identity." In The Anxious Object: Art Today and its Audience. New York: Horizon Press, 1964, ill. p. 138, as The Artist and His Mother.
Levy, Julien. Arshile Gorky. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966. Monograph, pl. 21, ill. in color, p. 45, as The Artist and His Mother, dated c. 1926–29.
Rose, Barbara. American Art Since 1900: A Critical History. New York & Washington: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1967, fig. 5–42, ill. in b/w, p. 149, as The Artist and His Mother.
Alexandrian, Sarane. Surrealist Art. New York and Washington, D.C.: Praeger Publishers, 1970, discussed p. 175, as The Artist and His Mother.
Fuller, John. "An Un-Victorian Photograph of the 1860's." Art Journal (New York) 29 (Spring 1970), fig. 5, ill. in b/w, p. 308, as The Artist and His Mother.
Sandler, Irving H. The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, fig. 3–7, ill. in b/w, p. 50, as The Artist and His Mother.
Wasserman, Emily. The American Scene—Early Twentieth Century Art. Milan: Fratelli Fabbri Editori and New York: The McCall Publishing Company, 1970, pl. 48, ill. in color, p. 66, as The Artist and His Mother.
Hunter, Sam. American Art of the Twentieth Century. With sections on architecture by John Jacobus. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1972, 1973, pl. 340, ill. in color, p. 191, as The Artist and His Mother.
Alloway, Lawrence. "Art." The Nation (New York) (September 7, 1974), discussed p. 190, as The Artist and His Mother.
Larson, Philip. "De Kooning's Drawings." In De Kooning: drawings/sculptures, by Philip Larson and Peter Schjeldahl. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1974, fig. 6, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Herrera, Hayden. "The Artist's Self Image: Self Portraits by Arshile Gorky." In Arshile Gorky: Drawings to Paintings. Austin: University of Texas at Austin, 1975. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 8, ill. in b/w, p. 51, as The Artist and His Mother, dated 1926–29.
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.
Kagitani, Y. "Arshile Gorky: A Man Who Lived in the Middle of Solitude." Mizue (Tokyo) 9, no. 858 (September 1976), ill. in color, p. 25.
Quaytman, Harvey. "Arshile Gorky's Early Paintings." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed p. 105, as "Artist and his Mother."
Herrera, Hayden. "Gorky's Self Portraits: The Artist by Himself." Art in America (New York) 64 (March–April 1976), fig. 11, ill. in color, p. 62, as The Artist and His Mother.
Lader, Melvin P. "Graham, Gorky, de Kooning, and the 'Ingres Revival' in America." Arts Magazine (New York) 52 (March 1978), fig. 3, ill. in b/w, p. 94, as The Artist and His Mother.
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. 2, ill. in b/w, p. 62, as The Artist and His Mother.
Brown, Milton W., Sam Hunter, et al. American Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Decorative Arts, Photography. Theresa C. Brakeley. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1979, pl. 73, ill. in color, p. 481, as The Artist and His Mother.
Howe, Irving, and Kenneth Libo, eds. How We Lived: A Documentary History of Immigrant Jews in America. New York: Richard Marek Publishers, Inc., 1979, ill. in b/w, p. 47, 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. 2–15, ill. in b/w, p. 28, as The Artist and His Mother.
"Exhibitions." Bulletin of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) 2 (Fall 1980) (1978–79 New York), discussed p. 14, as The Artist and His Mother.
Brach, Paul. "Gorky's Secret Garden." Art in America (New York) 69, no. 8 (October 1981), ill. in b/w, p. 123, as The Artist and His Mother.
Cullinan, Helen. "The First and Last of Arshile Gorky." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), July 5, 1981, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Frank, Elizabeth. "How Arshile Gorky Finally Became Himself." ARTnews (New York) 80 (September 1981), ill. in color, p. 168, as The Artist and His Mother.
Giachetti, Romano. Il segreto di Achille. La Repubblica (Rome), May 30, 1981, ill. in b/w, p. 18, as "L'artista e sua madre."
Hughes, Robert. "Art: The Triumph of Achilles the Bitter." Time (New York) 117, no. 19 (May 11, 1981), ill. in color, p. 80, 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.
Mills, James. "New York, London Treasure-Troves of Art." The Sunday Denver Post, May 31, 1981, ill. in b/w, p. 51, as The Artist and His Mother.
Monte, James. "The Life and Work of Arshile Gorky." Museum Magazine (Arlington, VA) 2 (June–August 1981), ill. in color, p. 45, 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.
Russell, John. "Synthesis of Cezanne and Lake Van." St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 3, 1981, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Stevens, Mark. "Arshile Gorky: El gran artista tardío." El Caribe (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) (June 13, 1981), ill. in b/w, p. 18, as "Autorretrato con su madre."
Karp, Diane. "Arshile Gorky: The Language of Art." Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1982, fig. 23, ill. in b/w, p. 191, 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, fig. 9, ill. in b/w, p. 50; discussed pp. 49, 51, 53–57, 88, 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. 115, ill. in b/w, pp. 242–43, 245, as The Artist and His Mother.
Mooradian, Karlen. "The Wars of Arshile Gorky." Ararat (New York) 24 (Autumn 1983), discussed pp. 5, 11, as The Artist and His Mother.
Seitz, William C. Abstract Expressionist Painting in America. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press for the National Gallery of Art, 1983, fig. 48, ill. in color, 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. 1, ill. in b/w, p. 96, as The Artist and His Mother.
Lader, Melvin P. Arshile Gorky. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985. Monograph, fig. 26, ill. in color, p. 32, as The Artist and His Mother.
Russell, John. "Modern Art Museums: The Surprise is Gone." New York Times, August 4, 1985, ill. in b/w, sec. 2, p. 1, as The Artist and His Mother.
Rand, Harry. "Gorky In Virginia." Arts in Virginia 26, no. 1 (1986), fig. 5, ill. in b/w, p. 5, as The Artist and His Mother.
Tashjian, Dickran. "Arshile Gorky's American Script: Ethnicity and Modernism in the Diaspora." Bucknell Review: Perspective: Art, Literature, Participation (Lewisburg, PA) 30, no. 1 (1986), ill. in b/w, p. 149, as The Artist and His Mother.
"The Artist and His Mother." Christian Science Monitor, December 1, 1987, ill. in b/w, p. 30, as The Artist and His Mother.
Kuspit, Donald. "Representing The Mother: Representing the Unrepresentable?" In The Artist's Mother: Portraits and Homages, Robert Evren, ed. Huntington, NY: The Heckscher Museum, 1987. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 10, ill. in b/w, p. 27, 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. 2, ill. in b/w, p. 51, as The Artist and His Mother.
Waldman, Diane. Willem de Kooning. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1988, fig. 20, ill. in b/w, p. 32, as The Artist and His Mother, dated 1926–29.
Corrin, Lisa. "Toward Armenia: Notes of a Journey." In Arshile Gorky: 1904–1948. London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1990. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 6, ill. in b/w, p. 166, 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. 2, ill. in b/w, p. 15, as The Artist and His Mother.
Anfam, David. Abstract Expressionism. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1990, fig. 44, ill. in color, p. 61, 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. 2–15, ill. in b/w, p. 31, as The Artist and His Mother.
Ben-Levy, Jack. "A Sadomasochistic Drama in an Age of Traditional Family Values." In Abject Art: Repulsion and Desire in American Art 3, ISP Papers. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1993. Exhibition catalogue, ill. in b/w, p. 16, 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.
Spender, Matthew. "Arshile Gorky's Early Life." In Arshile Gorky: The Breakthrough Years, Karen Lee Spaulding, ed. Fort Worth, Texas: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in association with Rizzoli, New York, 1995. Exhibition catalogue, ill. in b/w, p.36, as The Artist and His Mother.
Akiskal, Kareen K., and Hagop S. Akiskal. "Abstract Expressionism as Psychobiography: The Life and Suicide of Arshile Gorky." In Depression and the Spiritual in Modern Art: Homage to Miró, Schildkraut, Joseph J. and Aurora Otero, eds. Chichester (U.K.) and New York: John Wiley, 1996, fig. 19–4, ill. in b/w, p. 227, 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. 58, as The Artist and His Mother.
Spender, Matthew. From a High Place: A Life of Arshile Gorky. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1999, ill. in b/w, p. 183, as The Artist and His Mother.
Venn, Beth and Adam D. Weinberg. Frames of Reference: Looking at American Art, 1900–1950: Works from the Whitney Museum of American Art. New York and Berkeley: Whitney Museum of American Art and University of California Press, 1999, ill. in color, p. 76, as The Artist and His Mother.
Cotter, Holland. "Suspended Between Modernism and an Armenian Past." New York Times, April 12, 2002, ill. in b/w, p. E35, 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. 4, ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Adams, Laurie Schneider. A History of Western Art. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2004, fig. 29.3, ill. in color, p. 518, as The Artist and His Mother.
Rosand, David. The Invention of Painting in America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004, fig. 70, ill in b/w, p. 140, as The Artist and His Mother.
Ladau, Ellen G., ed. Reading Abstract Expressionism: Context and Critique. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005, fig. 17, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Landi, Ann. "The Picasso Challenge." Artnews (New York) 105, no. 9 (October 2006), ill. in color, p. 153, 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, 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 pp. 19, 73, 74, as "l'Artiste et sa mère."
Landau, Ellen G. "Mexico and American Modernism: The Case of Jackson Pollock." In Abstract Expressionism: The International Context, Joan Marter, ed. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007, no. 47, ill. in b/w, p. 175, as The Artist and His Mother.
Vasoncelos e Malo, Ana. "Arshile Gorky ou l'impératif de la peinture / Arshile Gorky or the Imperative of Painting." In Arshile Gorky: Hommage. Paris: Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2007. Exhibition catalogue, ill. in color, p. 28, as The Artist and His Mother.
Avakian, Florence. "As Arshile Gorky's Prestige Grows, His Armenian Experience Must Not Be Forgotten." The Armenian Reporter (New York), July 5 2008, ill. in b/w, as The Artist and His Mother.
Budick, Ariella. "Arshile Gorky, Philadelphia Museum of Art." The Financial Times (London), November 2, 2009 (accessed online), ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Cooksey, Chelsea L. "Arshile Gorky: The Abstraction of Symbol, Figure, and Form." M.A. Thesis, Purchase College, State University of New York, 2009, fig. 47, ill. in color, p. 78; fig. 54, ill. in color (detail), p. 81, as The Artist and His Mother.
Cotter, Holland. "From Mimic to Master of Invention." New York Times, October 23, 2009, ill. in color, p. 27, as "Artist and His Mother."
Kolbe, Regina. "Dreams Form The Bristles Of The Artist's Brush: Arshile Gorky, The Last Great Surrealist." Antiques and The Arts Weekly (Newton, CT) (October 23, 2009), ill. in color, p. 69, as The Artist and His Mother.
Matttison, Robert S. Arshile Gorky: Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafica, 2009. Monograph, ill. in color, p. 23, as The Artist and His Mother.
Sozanski, Edward. "Art: Arshile Gorky: Art and Anguish." Philadelphia Inquirer, October 25 2009, ill. in color (online only), as The Artist and His Mother.
Thurman, Judith. The Artist's Mother: The Greatest Painters Pay Tribute to the Women Who Rocked Their Cradles. New York and London: Overlook Duckworth and Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc., 2009, ill. in color, p. 105, as The Artist and His Mother.
Voves, Ed. "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art." California Literary Review (Carlsbad, CA) (November 9 2009), ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Wallis, Jonathan. "Perspective: Arshile Gorky Retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art." Critical Mass (blog for City Paper, Philadelphia), November 16, 2009, ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Warner, Emily. "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective." The Brooklyn Rail (NY) (December 2009–January 2010), ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Theriault, Kim S. Rethinking Arshile Gorky. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009. Monograph, pl. 1, 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. 27, ill. in color (detail), p. 50; fig. 28, ill. in color (detail), p. 51, 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), ill. in color, p. 206; ill. in b/w (detail), p. 145, as The Artist and His Mother.
Bankes, Ariane. "If He Couldn't Paint, He Couldn't Live." The Spectator (London), February 6, 2010, ill. in color, p. 41, as The Artist and His Mother.
Campbell-Johnston, Rachel. "An Old World newly minted." The Times (London), February 9, 2010, ill. in color, p. 14, as The Artist and His Mother.
Gale, Matthew. Arshile Gorky: Enigma and Nostalgia. London: Tate Publishing, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2009–10 Philadelphia), no. 5, ill. in color, p. 22; ill. in color (detail), p. 14, as The Artist and His Mother.
Georgievska-Shine, Aneta. "Arshile Gorky: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles." ArtUS (Los Angeles), no. 29 (2010), ill. in color, p. 25, as The Artist and His Mother.
Harvey, Doug. "Gorky's Debt: The Genealogy of an Action Pioneer." Los Angeles Weekly, July 8, 2010, ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Jury, Louise. "Remembering a Mother at Tate." Evening Standard (London), February 9, 2010, ill. in color, p. 27, as The Artist and His Mother.
Murachanian, Jean. "The Forging of an Artistic Identity: A Gorky Retrospective." Asbarez Newspaper (Los Angeles), July 2, 2010, ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Sewell, Brian. "Mother's Boy." Evening Standard (London), February 11, 2010, ill. in color, pp. 38–39, 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. 41, ill. in color, p. 138, as The Artist and His Mother.
Robbins, Christa Noel. "Harold Rosenberg on the Character of Action." Oxford Art Journal (U.K.) 35, no. 2 (2012), fig. 4, ill. in color, p. 210; discussed pp. 209–10, as The Artist and His Mother.
Landau, Ellen G. Mexico and American Modernism. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013, fig. 53, ill. in b/w, p. 78, as The Artist and His Mother.
Pitman, Alexandra. "Trauma, bereavement and the creative process: Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother." Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (London) 19 (2013), fig. 2, ill. in b/w, p. 367, as The Artist and His Mother.
Sandler, Irving H. "Arshile Gorky, 'An Artist of the Earth.'" The Brooklyn Rail (NY) (July–August 2013), ill. in color, p. 33, as The Artist and His Mother.
Kerr, Melissa. Arshile Gorky: Drawings from the Thirties. Brussels: Patrick Derom Gallery, 2014. Monograph, ill. in b/w, p. 54, as The Artist and His Mother.
Voves, Ed. "Mother of Inspiration: Icons of the Virgin Mary and the Rise of Western Art." Art Eyewitness (blog) (July 8, 2014), ill. in color, as The Artist and His Mother.
Miller, Dana, ed. Whitney Museum of American Art: Handbook of the Collection. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2015, ill. in color, p. 151, as The Artist and His Mother.
Anfam, David. "An Unending Equation." In Abstract Expressionism. London: Royal Academy Publications, 2016. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 8, ill. in color, p. 27, as The Artist and His Mother.
Devaney, Edith. "Repossessing Nature." In Ardent Nature: Arshile Gorky Landscapes, 1943–47. Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2017. Exhibition catalogue, ill. in color, p. 23, 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. 98, 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. 3, ill. in color, p. 33, as "The Artist and His Mother / L'artista e sua madre."
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 is covered by a backing board; no documentation of the reverse of the original canvas has been made available.

Commentary

The painting is after a black-and-white photograph of Gorky and his mother Shushan Der Marderosian Adoian (1880–1919) taken c. 1912 (see supplementary image). The 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 version of the painting, believed to have been reworked by Gorky until approximately 1942, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (P114).

Saul Schary (1904–1978), Gorky’s close friend and a fellow painter, witnessed the artist reworking the painting between the late 1920s and mid-to-late 1930s. In a 1965 interview, when remarking on the smoothness of its surface, Schary recalled Gorky’s process: “There’s hardly a bump of paint that sticks up [on the surface]. It’s all very fine and done with very soft sable or camel brushes. . . . Gorky decided that the way to get that smooth quality was to scrape the surface. So he’d paint and then let it dry good and hard. Then he’d take it into the bathroom and he’d scrape over the surface very carefully with a razor. Scrape the paint down until it got as smooth as though it were painted on ivory. You look at that picture the next time and you won’t be able to tell how he did it, because there are no brush strokes. Because he scraped it and he scraped it and he scraped it, and then held it over the bathtub and wiped off with a damp rag, all the excess dust and paint. Then he’d go back and paint over it again and then scrape it. And that’s how he got that wonderful surface.”1

Gorky's friends Helen (1906–2000) and Alexander "Sandy" Sandow (1901–1978), whom the artist had known since 1930, recalled a visit to Gorky's studio around 1933 during which they viewed the then-unfinished painting. In conversation with Gorky scholar Melvin P. Lader, Helen recalled the visit: "Gorky brought out the painting of his mother and himself. . . . We were literally stunned by its gentle beauty and sensitivity especially coming after the force and boldness not to mention the size of all the abstractions we had been looking at. . . . I think the painting was on an easel which he kept covered with a cloth. He said he was working on it—that it was not finished—although it looked quite finished to me."2 Another of Gorky's friends, the artist Jacob Kainen (1909–2001), recalled a visit to Gorky's studio in 1934 at which point the painting was hanging on the wall, purportedly finished: ". . . Gorky opened the door. The first memory I have is of the now famous self-portrait of the artist and his mother, unframed, facing me on the distant wall."3 According to Kainen, "It dominated the studio with its monumental and delicate presence—the only painting on the walls."4 Kainen's recollection is corroborated by Isobel Grossman (1904–1995), one of Gorky's patrons, who, during a visit to the studio in the mid-1930s, also remembered seeing the painting hanging alone, in contrast to the many other canvases on the floor, stacked against a wall.5

In addition to frequently reworking his canvases over a span of time, Gorky often backdated them. Here, the date "26–9," inscribed lower right, likely refers to a combination of both scenarios. Stylistically, the painting is closest to a number of portraits Gorky completed c. 1934.6 The recollections of Gorky's contemporaries who saw the painting in the mid-1930s also confirm this date. Although Gorky began the painting as early as 1926, the inscribed date does not refer to the painting's date of completion. It was definitely finished by 1937, according to American writer Edwin Denby (1903–1983), who visited Gorky's studio that year.7 It should be noted that when the painting was first exhibited in 1946 in Fourteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, it was dated 1926–29 (see 1946c New York). 

According to his wife Agnes "Mougouch" (1921–2013), in the early 1940s, when he entered a "period before he went back to landscape and he was looking for material within his own studio, from his own painting," he reworked a number of portraits originating from the 1930s, including the National Gallery’s version of The Artist and His Mother (P114). There were some paintings from the 1930s that Gorky did not later rework, including this version of The Artist and His Mother (P115). 

In November 1949, after Mougouch disputed a claim made by Gorky's last lifetime dealer, Julien Levy (1906–1981), averring that Gorky had given him the painting in 1945 as part of his formal contract with the Julien Levy Gallery (signed in December 1944), an agreement was reached with the Arshile Gorky Estate. According to its terms Levy agreed to gift the painting to the Whitney Museum of American Art on behalf of Gorky’s daughters, Maro (b. 1943) and Natasha (b. 1945), whom Mougouch believed to be the rightful owners.

1. Saul Schary, interview by Karlen Mooradian, Arshile Gorky/Mooradian Archive, Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, New York; Saul Schary, "Conversations on Gorky," interview by Karlen Mooradian, October 5, 1965, The Many Worlds of Arshile Gorky (Chicago: Gilgamesh, 1980), 205–6. Partially reprinted in: Matthew Spender, ed., Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song: A Life in Letters and Documents, trans. Father Krikor Maksoudian (Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2018), 97.

2. Melvin P. Lader, "Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother: Further Study of Its Evolution, Sources, and Meaning," ARTS Magazine 58 (January 1984): 99.

3. Jacob Kainen, "Memories of Arshile Gorky," ARTS Magazine 50, no. 7 (March 1976): 96. In a July 1983 letter to Melvin P. Lader, Ruth Cole Kainen, Jacob's wife, confirmed that Kainen's memory refers to P115; see Melvin P. Lader, "Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother: Further Study of Its Evolution, Sources, and Meaning," ARTS Magazine 58 (January 1984): 104, fn. 24.  

4. Jacob Kainen, "Posing for Gorky," The Washington Post, June 10, 1979, L1, 4.

5. Melvin P Lader, "Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother: Further Study of Its Evolution, Sources, and Meaning," ARTS Magazine 58 (January 1984): 99.

6. Jim M Jordan, "The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: New Discoveries, New Sources, and Chronology," in Jim M. Jordan and Robert Goldwater, The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue (New York and London: New York University Press, 1982), 49. For stylistic affinities, see P110, P111, and P113.

7. Edwin Denby, interview by Karlen Mooradian, Arshile Gorky/Mooradian Archive, Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, New York; Edwin Denby, "Conversations on Gorky," interview by Karlen Mooradian, May 2, 1966, The Many Worlds of Arshile Gorky (Chicago: Gilgamesh, 1980), 216.

8. 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, 345.

9. Agnes Gorky argued that the painting could not have been part of Gorky's December 1944 contract with Levy given its completion nearly a decade earlier (c. 1936); as she notes in the related correspondence, "[the painting was] only loaned to Levy + I refuse to accept [Levy's] claim that Gorky gave it to him as a come on for the contract—[P115] is the property of Maro and Natasha Gorky—it is not listed in the contract itself + the contract only has right to paintings of the year of the contract and 'recent work.' [The curator] Dorothy [C.] Miller will be able to tell you that [P115] was not recent work in 1945." Letter from Agnes Gorky to Joshua Binion Cahn, June 1949, AGF Archives. Letter from Joshua Binion Cahn to Agnes Gorky, November 18, 1949, AGF Archives.

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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