Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Photo: © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY
P248
Garden in Sochi
1941
Oil on canvas
44 1/4 x 62 1/4 in. (112.4 x 158.1 cm)
Front, lower left: A. Gorky
Reverse not seen
Exhibitions
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Annual Exhibition of Paintings by Artists Under Forty, November 12–December 30, 1941, no. 51 or 52, as "Painting."
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Recent Acquisitions: The Work of Young Americans, June 17–July 25, 1943, as Garden in Sochi.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Art in Progress: A Survey Prepared for the Fifteenth Anniversary of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 24–October 15, 1944, ill. in b/w, p. 84, as Garden in Sochi.
Art Gallery of Toronto, Museum's Choice: Contemporary American Paintings, February 2–25, 1945, no. 53, ill. in b/w, as Garden in Sochi.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fourteen Americans, September 10–December 8, 1946 (Exhibition catalogue: Miller 1946), no. 31, p. 77; ill. in b/w, p. 20, as Garden in Sochi.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Department of Circulating Exhibitions (organizer), Fourteen Americans, 1947, no. 18, as Garden in Sochi. Traveled to: Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, January 5–26, 1947; Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, February 7–March 10, 1947; Cincinnati Modern Art Society, March 20–April 17, 1947; San Francisco Museum of Art, May 6–June 1, 1947; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, June 15–30, 1947; Indiana University Art Center Gallery, Bloomington, October 11–18, 1947.
Julien Levy Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky, 1905–1948, November 16–December 4, 1948, no. 2, as Garden in Sochi.
XXV Biennale di Venezia, U.S. Pavillion, Venice, Italy, Gorky, Pollock, de Kooning, June 3–October 15, 1950, no. 71, p. 394, as "Giardino a Sochi."
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Arshile Gorky Memorial Exhibition, January 5–February 18, 1951, no. 27, ill. in b/w, p. 22; p. 47, as Garden in Sochi. 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. 8, as Garden in Sochi.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, December 19, 1962–February 12, 1963, no. 44, ill. in b/w, p. 27, as Garden in Sochi. Traveled to: Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C, March 12–April 14, 1963.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, The New American Painting and Sculpture: The First Generation, June 18–October 5, 1969, no. 18, as Garden in Sochi.
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. 68, ill. in b/w, p. 198, as Garden in Sochi.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 124, ill. in b/w, p. 158, as Garden in Sochi. Traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, September 11–November 8, 1981; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 3, 1981–February 28, 1982.
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, 1927–1944, November 5–December 31, 1983, ill. in b/w, fig. 13, p. 156, as Garden in Sochi (not exhibited). Traveled to: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, January 26–March 25, 1984; Minneapolis Institute of Art, April 15–June 3, 1984; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 28–September 9, 1984.
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, Dorothy C. Miller: With an Eye to American Art, April 19–June 16, 1985, no. 16, ill. in b/w, as Garden in Sochi.
Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, October 17–December 23, 1989, no. 28, ill. in color, p. 95, as Garden in Sochi. Traveled to: Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, January 19–March 25, 1990.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (organizers), Arshile Gorky: The Breakthrough Years, 1995–96, no. 1, ill. in color, p. 91, as Garden in Sochi. Traveled to: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, May 7–September 17, 1995; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, October 13–December 31, 1995; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, January 13–March 17, 1996.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Surrealistas en el exilio y los inicios de la Escuela de Nueva York, December 21, 1999–February 27, 2000, ill. in color, p. 110, as "Garden in Sochi / Jardín en Sochi."
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, October 15, 2009–January 10, 2010, no. 95, ill. in color, p. 257, as Garden in Sochi. Traveled to: Tate Modern, London, February 10–May 3, 2010. (Gale 2010).; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 6–September 20, 2010.
Literature
Jewell, Edward Alden. "Museums: The Bache Collection—Contemporaries." New York Times, June 20, 1943, discussed p. X6, as Garden in Sochi.
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., ed. Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1948, ill. in b/w , p. 225, no. 285, as Garden in Sochi.
Hunter, Sam. "Chiefly Abstract." New York Times, November 21, 1948, discussed p. X9, as Garden in Sochi.
Barr, Alfred H., Jr. "Gorky, de Kooning, Pollock." Artnews 49, no. 4 (June–August 1950), discussed p. 60, as Garden in Sochi.
Ballard, Louis. "Art." Arts & Architecture (Los Angeles) 68 (May 1951), discussed p. 10, as "The Garden in Sochi."
de Kooning, Elaine. "Gorky: Painter of his Own Legend." ARTnews (New York) 49, no. 9 (January 1951), discussed p. 64.
Loftus, John. "Arshile Gorky: A Monograph." M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, New York, 1952, pl. XXI, ill. in b/w, as Garden in Sochi.
Seitz, William C. "Spirit, Time and 'Abstract Expressionism.'" Magazine of Art (Washington, D.C.) 46 (February 1953), ill. in b/w, p. 82; discussed p. 84, as Garden in Sochi.
Mooradian, Karlen. "Arshile Gorky." Armenian Review (Watertown, MA) 8, no. 2 (Summer 1955), discussed p. 55, as Garden in Sochi.
Rodman, Selden. The Eye of Man: Form and Content in Western Painting. New York: Devin-Adair, 1955, ill. in b/w, p. 137, as Garden in Sochi.
"Art: The Wild Ones." Time (New York) 67, no. 8 (February 20, 1956), ill. in color, p. 72, as Garden in Sochi.
Schwabacher, Ethel. Arshile Gorky. New York: The Macmillan Company for the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1957. Monograph, fig. 27, ill. in b/w, p. 71, as Garden in Sochi.
Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art: A Catalog. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1958, discussed p. 27, as Garden in Sochi.
Rosenberg, Harold. "Arshile Gorky, His Art and His Influence." Portfolio & Artnews Annual (New York), no. 5 (1961), ill. in b/w, p. 105, as Garden in Sochi.
Adlow, Dorothy. "At the Museum of Modern Art." Christian Science Monitor (Boston), December 26, 1962, ill. in b/w, p. 4, as "Garden in Socki."
Vreeland, Diana, ed. "People Are Talking About . . . Advance Notice." Vogue (New York) 140 (August 15, 1962), no. 9, ill. in b/w, p. 84, as Garden in Sochi.
Ashton, Dore. The Unknown Shore: A View of Contemporary Art. Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1962, ill. in b/w, p. 50, as Garden in Sochi.
Rosenberg, Harold. Arshile Gorky: The Man, the Time, the Idea. New York: Horizon Press, 1962. Monograph, ill. in b/w, p. 71, as Garden in Sochi.
Ashton, Dore. "Arshile Gorky peintre romantique." XXe siècle (Paris) 19 (June 1962), ill. in b/w, p. 77, as "Jardin à Sochi."
Rubin, William. "Arshile Gorky, Surrealism, and the New American Painting." Art International (Paris) 7, no. 2 (February 25, 1963), ill. in b/w, p. 30, as "Garden in Soichi."
Levy, Julien. Arshile Gorky. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966. Monograph, pl. 81, ill. in b/w, p. 105, as Garden in Sochi.
Rose, Barbara. American Art Since 1900: A Critical History. New York & Washington: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1967, fig. 6–13, ill. in b/w, p. 168, as Garden in Sochi.
Mooradian, Karlen. "Arshile Gorky: The Prompter." Harvard Art Review (Cambridge, MA) 2, no. 1 (Winter 1967), ill. in b/w, p. 36, as Garden in Sochi.
Rubin, William S. Dada and Surrealist Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1968, fig. 403, ill. in b/w, p. 389, as "Garden in Sochi II."
Sandler, Irving H. The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, fig. 3–11, ill. in b/w, p. 53, as "Garden in Sochi I."
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. New York School: the First Generation, Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s. Forward by Maurice Tuchman. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, 1971 (1965b Los Angeles), fig. 25, ill. in b/w, p. 61, as Garden in Sochi.
Hunter, Sam. American Art of the Twentieth Century. With sections on architecture by John Jacobus. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1972, 1973, pl. 369, ill. in b/w, p. 206, as Garden in Sochi.
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., ed. Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art, 1929–1967. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1977, ill. in b/w, p. 309, as Garden in Sochi.
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. 7, ill. in b/w, p. 66, as Garden in Sochi.
Rand, Harry. Arshile Gorky: The Implication of Symbols. London and Montclair, N.J.: George Prior and Allanheld & Schram, 1980, 1981. Monograph, fig. 5–1, ill. in b/w, p. 73, as Garden in Sochi.
Jordan, Jim M. "Gorky at the Guggenheim." Art Journal (New York) 41, no. 3 (Fall 1981), discussed pp. 263–64, as Garden in Sochi.
Karp, Diane. "Arshile Gorky: The Language of Art." Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1982, fig. 79, ill. in b/w, p. 247, as Garden in Sochi.
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. 72–73, 80–81, 88, as Garden in Sochi.
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. 248, ill. in b/w, pp. 395–97, as Garden in Sochi.
Seitz, William C. Abstract Expressionist Painting in America. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press for the National Gallery of Art, 1983, fig. 64, ill. in color, as Garden in Sochi.
Rand, Harry. "Gorky In Virginia." Arts in Virginia 26, no. 1 (1986), fig. 6, ill. in b/w, pp. 6–7, as Garden in Sochi.
Rand, Harry. Arshile Gorky: The Implication of Symbols. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991. Monograph, fig. 5–1, ill. in b/w, p. 80, as Garden in Sochi.
Ashton, Dore. "A Straggler's View of Gorky." 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. 50, as Garden in Sochi.
Bevan, Roger. "Autumnal Gorky." The Art Newspaper (London) 6 (May 1995), discussed p. 13, as Garden in Sochi.
Kimmelman, Michael. "A Restless Borrower, and His Own Man." New York Times, May 21 1995, discussed, as Garden in Sochi.
Sawin, Martica. Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1995, ill. in b/w, p. 167, as Garden in Sochi.
Weil, Rex. "Arshile Gorky." Artnews (New York) 94 (September 1995), ill. in b/w, p. 147, as Garden in Sochi.
Balakian, Peter. "Arshile Gorky and the Armenian Genocide." Art in America (New York) 84 (February 1996), discussed p. 59, as Garden in Sochi.
Matossian, Nouritza. Black Angel: The Life of Arshile Gorky. London: Chatto & Windus, 1998, color pl. 5, ill., as Garden in Sochi.
Spender, Matthew. From a High Place: A Life of Arshile Gorky. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1999, ill. in b/w, p. 232, as Garden in Sochi.
Herrera, Hayden. Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003, fig. 149, ill. in color, as Garden in Sochi.
Johnson, Patricia C. "Exhibit Reveals Gorky's Genius: Menil Collection Shows 140 of Artist's Works." Houston Chronicle, March 6, 2004, discussed p. 9D, as Garden in Sochi.
Rosand, David. The Invention of Painting in America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004, fig. 72, ill. in b/w, p. 142, as Garden in Sochi.
Beredjiklian, Alexandre. Arshile Gorky: sept thèmes majeurs. Suresnes, France: Alphamédian & Johanet; Lisbon: Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, 2007. Monograph, discussed pp. 25, 32, as "Jardin à Sotchi."
Kleeblatt, Norman L. "Greenberg, Rosenberg, and Postwar American Art." In Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940–1976, Norman L. Kleeblatt, ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008. Exhibition catalogue, ill. in color, p. 142, as Garden in Sochi.
Cooksey, Chelsea L. "Arshile Gorky: The Abstraction of Symbol, Figure, and Form." M.A. Thesis, Purchase College, State University of New York, 2009, fig. 2, ill. in color, p. 52, as Garden in Sochi.
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 Garden in Sochi.
Matttison, Robert S. Arshile Gorky: Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafica, 2009. Monograph, ill. in color, p. 63, as Garden in Sochi.
Warner, Emily. "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective." The Brooklyn Rail (NY) (December 2009–January 2010), ill. in color, as Garden in Sochi.
Theriault, Kim S. Rethinking Arshile Gorky. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009. Monograph, pl. 20, ill. in color, as Garden in Sochi.
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. 148, 212, as Garden in Sochi.
Gale, Matthew. Arshile Gorky: Enigma and Nostalgia. London: Tate Publishing, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2009–10 Philadelphia), no. 24, ill. in color, p. 53, as Garden in Sochi.
Murachanian, Jean. "The Forging of an Artistic Identity: A Gorky Retrospective." Asbarez Newspaper (Los Angeles), July 2, 2010, ill. in color, as "Garden of Sochi."
Craft, Catherine. An Audience of Artists: Dada, Neo-Dada, and the Emergence of Abstract Expressionism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012, fig. 12, ill. in b/w, p. 82, as Garden in Sochi.
Devaney, Edith. "Repossessing Nature." In Ardent Nature: Arshile Gorky Landscapes, 1943–47. Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2017. Exhibition catalogue, ill. in color, p. 26, as Garden in Sochi.
Field, Parker. "Beyond The Limit." In Arshile Gorky: Beyond The Limit, edited by Jennifer Magee. Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2021. Exhibition catalogue, discussed p. 13, as Garden in Sochi.
Notes

Commentary

Around June 1942, the Museum of Modern Art exchanged Painting (P212) with the artist for Garden in Sochi (P248). According to the artist's wife Agnes "Mougouch" Gorky (1921–2013), "there was a moment during this transaction when [Alfred H.] Barr took out a tape measure to compare the two works after which the green Sochi being slightly larger [than P212], Gorky received some extra money to make up the difference."1

Shortly after the exchange, at the request of Dorothy C. Miller (1904–2003), a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, Gorky shared a written elaboration on the painting, explaining: "[A]bout 194 feet away from our house on the road to the spring my father had a little garden with a few apple trees which had retired from giving fruit. There was a ground constantly in shade where grew incalculable amounts of wild carrots, and porcupines had made their nests. There was a blue rock half buried in the black earth with a few patches of moss placed here and there like fallen clouds."2

According to Mougouch, the painting's central, boot-shaped form is based on the goatskin and sheepskin butter churns used by Kurdish mountain tribes, and familiar to Gorky from his childhood.3

She also reported that the painting was completed in one night, around October 1941, soon after she and Gorky returned to New York from San Francisco.4 "When we got back from San Francisco [on October 1, 1941] there was a letter from [Lloyd] Goodrich waiting for him [Gorky], saying the Whitney wanted a work of his for the Biennale. Gorky read this and said 'I will call him the day after tomorrow.' Whereupon he worked that whole night and most of the next day, making the dark green Garden in Sochi."5 Jim M. Jordan notes that it is more likely that Gorky gave the painting its final surface in one night.6 When the painting was exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Annual Exhibition of Paintings by Artists Under Forty in 1941 (November 12–December 30), the paint was reportedly still wet.7

The first known documentation of the title, Garden in Sochi, appears in Gorky's written statement for the Museum of Modern Art (quoted above), which is dated June 26, 1942. Mougouch explained that the title references the Black Sea port of Sochi, which was in the news at the time it was selected.8 

1. Agnes Gorky Fielding, interview by Matthew Spender, September 24–October 6, 1991, transcript, 9, Matthew Spender Papers, AGF Archives. 

2. "Arshile Gorky: Text for the Museum of Modern Art Describing the Garden in Sochi Series," June 26, 1942, Artist File: Arshile Gorky, The Museum of Modern Art Library, New York. Reprinted in Matthew Spender, ed., Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song: A Life in Letters and Documents (Zurich: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2018), 255; a copy of the original typescript is in the AGF Archives.

3. 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), 438.

4. 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), 397.

5. Agnes Gorky Fielding, interview by Matthew Spender, October 31 and November 25, 1994, transcript, Matthew Spender Papers, AGF Archives. 

6. 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), 397.

7. Matthew Spender, From a High Place: A Life of Arshile Gorky (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 231.

8. Agnes Gorky Fielding later remembered Gorky selecting the title, Garden in Sochi, the same night the painting was reportedly created; however, given the work was exhibited as Painting in the Whitney Museum's Annual Exhibition of November–December 1941, it is Gorky's June 1942 statement for The MoMA that offers the first known documentation of the title, Garden in Sochi. "Mougouch Gorky: How Breton and Gorky Worked on Titles," December 22–28, 1993, in Spender, ed., The Plow and the Song, 336; see also: Spender, From a High Place, 185–86.

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