Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Catalogue Entry

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Inscription on the center stretcher bar (rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise)
P279
One Year the Milkweed
1944
Oil on canvas
37 1/16 x 46 15/16 in. (94.2 x 119.3 cm)
Front, lower left: A. Gorky / 44
Reverse, center stretcher bar, in pencil: 37 x 47 [line] / Arshile Gorky / 1944 [sideways]
Exhibitions
Julien Levy Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky, March 6–31, 1945 (Exhibition checklist: Breton 1945b), no. 2, as One Year the Milkweed.
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 33 Paintings by Arshile Gorky, December 2–28, 1957 (Exhibition catalogue: Sidney Janis Gallery 1957), no. 17, ill. in b/w, as One Year the Milkweed.
Arts Council of Great Britain (organizer), Tate Gallery, London, Arshile Gorky, Paintings and Drawings, 1965, no. 56, ill. in b/w, as "One Year The Milkweed," [London: no. 56, ill. in b/w; Rotterdam: no. 67, ill. in b/w as "In dat jaar werd het kroontjeskruid gemaaid"] [P278 is mistakenly illustrated]. Traveled to: Tate Gallery, London, April 2–May 2, 1965; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, May 22–June 27, 1965; Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 24–September 5, 1965. (Museum Boymans van Beuingen 1965)..
Museum of Modern Art, New York, International Council (organizer), Two Decades of American Painting, 1966–67, as "One Year The Milkweed." Traveled to: National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, October 15–November 27, 1966; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, December 10, 1966–January 22, 1967; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, March 28–April 15, 1967; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, June 6–July 9, 1967; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, July 17–August 13, 1967.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage, March 27–June 9, 1968 (Exhibition catalogue: Rubin 1967), no. 138, ill. in b/w, fig. 269, p. 174, as "One Year The Milkweed." Traveled to: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, July 16–September 8, 1968; Art Institute of Chicago, October 19–December 8, 1968.
M. Knoedler & Co. Inc, New York, Gorky, de Kooning, Newman, June 26–September 20, 1969, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Haus der Kunst, Munich, Der Surrealismus 1922–1942 / Le Surrealisme, 1922–1942, March 11–May 7, 1972, no. 188 (Munich), ill. in b/w, as "One Year The Milkweed" (no. 183 in Paris cat.) Traveled to: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, May 26–July 23, 1972.
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (organized in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York), Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years, March 30–May 14, 1978 (Exhibition catalogue: Hobbs and Levin 1978); (Exhibition catalogue: Levin 1978a); (Exhibition catalogue: Levin 1978b), as One Year the Milkweed. Traveled to: Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, June 17–July 12, 1978; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 5–December 3, 1978.
Xavier Fourcade Inc, New York, Arshile Gorky: Important Paintings and Drawings, April 3–28, 1979, ill. in color, and ill. in color on cover, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, La Pintura de Los Estados Unidos de Museos de la Ciudad de Washington, November 18, 1980–January 4, 1981, no. 68, ill. in color, p. 177, as "Un Año, el Algodoncillo."
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 165, ill. in color, p. 193, as One Year the Milkweed. 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, New York, Reflections of Nature: Flowers in American Art, March 1–May 20, 1984 (Exhibition catalogue: Foshay 1984), fig. 66, ill. in color, p. 87, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Abstract Expressionism: The Critical Developments, September 19–November 29, 1987, no. 8, ill. in color, p. 174, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, October 17–December 23, 1989, no. 34, ill. in color, p. 105, as "One Year The Milkweed." Traveled to: Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, January 19–March 25, 1990.
Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, André Breton: la beauté convulsive, April 25–August 26, 1991, ill. in color, p. 386, as "One Year The Milkweed." Traveled to: Centro Arte Reina Sophia, Madrid, 1991.
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, American Art in the 20th Century: Painting and Sculpture 1913–1993, May 8–July 25, 1993, no. 80, ill. in color, as "One Year The Milkweed." Traveled to: Royal Academy of Arts and Saatchi Gallery, London, September 16–December 12, 1993.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (organizers), Arshile Gorky: The Breakthrough Years, 1995–96, no. 8, ill. in color, p. 105. 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.
National Academy of Design, New York, Surrealism USA, February 17–May 8, 2005, no. 85, ill. in color, as "One Year The Milkweed." Traveled to: Phoenix Art Museum, June 5–September 25, 2005.
Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, New York New York: Fifty Years of Art, Architecture, Cinema, Performance, Photography and Video, July 14–September 10, 2006, no. 11, ill. in color, p. 77, as "One Year The Milkweed" (not exhibited).
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, October 15, 2009–January 10, 2010, no. 120, ill. in color, p. 281, as "One Year The Milkweed." 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 One Year the Milkweed.
Ca'Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice, Italy, Arshile Gorky: 1904–1948, May 8–September 22, 2019, ill. in color, p. 115, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Literature
Ashton, Dore. "Lettre de New York." Arts & Architecture (Los Angeles) 75, no. 1 (January 1958), ill., p. 6, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Jouffroy, Alain. "Arshile Gorky et les secrets de la nuit." Cahiers du musée de poche (Paris) 2 (June 1959), ill. in b/w, p. 79, as "Un an de latex."
Reiff, Robert F. "A Stylistic Analysis of Arshile Gorky's Art from 1943–1948." Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1961, fig. 60a, ill. in b/w, p. 338, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Rubin, William. "Arshile Gorky, Surrealism, and the New American Painting." Art International (Paris) 7, no. 2 (February 25, 1963), ill. in b/w, p. 34, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Levy, Julien. Arshile Gorky. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966. Monograph, pl. 102, ill. in b/w, p. 126, as One Year the Milkweed, dated 1944.
Rubin, William. Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1967. Exhibition catalogue (1968b New York), no. 138, ill. in b/w, p. 174, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Rubin, William S. Dada and Surrealist Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1968, pl. LIX, ill. in color, p. 406, as One Year the Milkweed.
Sandler, Irving H. The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, fig. 2–5, ill. in b/w, p. 38, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Jordan, Jim. M. "Arshile Gorky at Crooked Run Farm." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed p. 100, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Levin, Gail. "Arshile Gorky (1904–1948)." In Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years. Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 1978. Exhibition catalogue (1978 Ithaca), fig. 63, ill. in b/w, p. 72, as One Year the Milkweed.
Gibson, Eric. "Arshile Gorky." Art International (Paris) 23 (Summer 1979), ill. in b/w, p. 77, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Schmidt, Katharina, ed. 2 Jarhzehnte amerikanische Malerei 1920–1940. Düsseldorf: Städtische Kunsthalle, 1979. Exhibition catalogue (1979 Düsseldorf), ill. in color, p. 129, as One Year the Milkweed.
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1980, ill. in b/w, p. 166, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Frank, Elizabeth. "How Arshile Gorky Finally Became Himself." Artnews (New York) 80 (September 1981), ill. in color, p. 169, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Freedman, Adele. "An Artist's Descent into Death: Gorky's Early Years Were Chaotic, His Later Ones Were Even Worse." The Globe and Mail (Toronto), June 9, 1981, discussed p. 15, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Jordan, Jim M. "Gorky at the Guggenheim." Art Journal (New York) 41, no. 3 (Fall 1981), discussed p. 263, as One Year the Milkweed.
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. 60, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Jordan Jim M. and Robert Goldwater. The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue. New York and London: New York University Press, 1982, ill. in color, cover; pl. 6, ill. in color, p. 110, as "One Year The Milkweed."
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. 279, ill. in b/w, pp. 430–31, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Foshay, Ella M. "Reflections of Nature: Flowers in American Art." In Reflections of Nature: Flowers in American Art, Sheila Schwartz, ed. New York and Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Random House of Canada, 1984. Exhibition catalogue (1984a New York), fig. 66, ill. in color, p. 87, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Lader, Melvin P. Arshile Gorky. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985. Monograph, fig. 69, ill. in color, p. 75, as "One Year The Milkweed."
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, discussed p. 61, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art (Revised and Enlarged Edition). New York: Hudson Hills Press, Inc., 1988, discussed p. 188, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Anfam, David. Abstract Expressionism. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1990, discussed p. 104, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Hopkins, David. "André Breton. Paris, Musée nationale d'art moderne." The Burlington Magazine (London) 133 (July 1991), discussed p. 480, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Polcari, Stephen. Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991, discussed p. 278, as "One Year The Milkweed."
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1992, ill. in b/w, p. 189, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Sawin, Martica. Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1995, discussed p. 369, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Balakian, Peter. "Arshile Gorky and the Armenian Genocide." Art in America (New York) 84 (February 1996), discussed p. 59, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Matossian, Nouritza. Black Angel: The Life of Arshile Gorky. London: Chatto & Windus, 1998, pl. 9, ill. in color, as One Year the Milkweed.
Herrera, Hayden. Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003, fig. 156, ill. in color, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Matttison, Robert S. Arshile Gorky: Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafica, 2009. Monograph, ill. in color, p. 79, as One Year the Milkweed.
Theriault, Kim S. Rethinking Arshile Gorky. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009. Monograph, fig. 44, ill. in b/w, p. 147; ill. in b/w (detail), p. 134, as "One Year The Milkweed."
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. 149, 212, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Campbell-Johnston, Rachel. "An Old World newly minted." The Times (London), February 9, 2010, ill. in color, p. 14, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Gale, Matthew. Arshile Gorky: Enigma and Nostalgia. London: Tate Publishing, 2010. Exhibition catalogue (2009–10 Philadelphia), no. 73, ill. in color, p. 73, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Harvey, Doug. "Gorky's Debt: The Genealogy of an Action Pioneer." Los Angeles Weekly, July 8, 2010, discussed, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Weston, Neville. "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective." Craft Arts International (Neutral Bay Junction, N.S.W.) 79 (2010), ill. in color, p. 84, as "One Year The Milkweed."
Notes
Reverse, in pencil, upper stretcher bar [not in artist's hand]: TOP [circled]
The inscription on the center stretcher bar and marking on the upper stretcher bar are known from a photograph provided by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Commentary

The nine paintings exhibited in Gorky's first solo show at the Julien Levy Gallery were titled with the help of André Breton (1896–1966) who visited the artist in Roxbury, Connecticut, on New Year's Eve 1944, and in his 36 Union Square studio multiple times before February 1945, with this purpose in mind.

On the chosen method, based on a play of associations, Agnes Gorky (1921–2013) later explained: "Breton told Gorky to bring out his work and to talk about each one as it came up, which Gorky did, very freely and easily. Breton chose an appropriate fragment from Gorky's words. After a while, Gorky got the hang of it, and could cho[o]se titles by himself. . . . For later shows this [collaborative method] was not necessary—[Gorky] found a title easily—but for many years before 1945 he hadn't thought in terms of titles as no painting ever seemed finished to him."1

Gorky's first encounter with the perennial plant, milkweed, to which his title in part refers, occurred during the summer of 1943 in Lincoln, Virginia, while the Gorky family was staying at Crooked Run Farm, the country property of Agnes' parents. In a letter to Jeanne Reynal (1903–1989) written during their stay the following summer, Agnes notes Gorky's particular fondness for the there-widespread native wildflower, recounting: "Today [Gorky] is heart broken because the farmer has cut the weeds to let the grass grow for the cows & all looks too park-like for Gorky who loved the purple thistles & great milkweeds & ragweeds. . . He stood on the hill watching the tractor down in the bottom land moaning 'They are cutting down the Raphaels'. . . ."

1. Agnes Gorky Fielding, interview by Matthew Spender, October 1, 1991, transcript, Matthew Spender Papers, AGF Archives; see also: Agnes "Mougouch" Gorky, "How Breton and Gorky Worked on Titles," December 22–28, 1993, in Matthew Spender, ed., Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song: A Life in Letters and Documents (ZurichHauser & Wirth Publishers, 2018), 336. 

2. Letter from Mougouch Gorky to Jeanne Reynal, Summer 1944, in Spender, ed., The Plow and the Song, 309.