Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Catalogue Entry

Photo: Edward C. Robison III
Child's Companions
Oil on canvas
34 1/8 x 46 1/8 in. (86.7 x 117.2 cm)
Front, center left: A Gorky / [paraph] / 45
Reverse not inscribed
Julien Levy Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky: Paintings: 1946, April 9–May 4, 1946, no. 7, as Child's Companions.
Kootz Gallery, New York, Selected Paintings by the Late Arshile Gorky, March 28–April 24, 1950. (Exhibition brochure: Gottlieb 1950), as Child's Companions.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Department of Circulating Exhibitions (organizer), Calligraphic and Geometric: Two Linear Tendencies in Recent American Painting, 1950–54, no. 3, as Child's Companions. Traveled to: Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, October 30–November 20, 1950; Art Museum of the New Britain Institute, Connecticut, December 4–25, 1950; North Dakota Agricultural College, Fargo, January 8–29, 1951; Pfeiffer Library, MacMurray College for Women, Jacksonville, Illinois, February 12–March 5, 1951; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, March 19–April 9, 1951; The School of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, November 5–26, 1951; Michigan State College, East Lansing, January 3–24, 1952; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, February 7–28, 1952; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, March 13–April 3, 1952; Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, April 17–May 8, 1952; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, June 2–23, 1952; Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, September 22–October 12, 1952; Binghamton Museum of Fine Arts, New York, October 26–November 16, 1952; Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, December 1–22, 1952; Bowling Green State University, Ohio, January 4–25, 1953; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 8–March 1, 1953; University of Oklahoma, Norman, March 14–April 1, 1953; The Parthenon, Nashville, April 18–May 8, 1953; Chattanooga Art Association, Tennessee, May 22–June 12, 1953; Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, October 20–November 10, 1953; College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, November 24–December 14, 1953; Willard Straight Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, January 4–18, 1954; Teachers College, State University of New York, Oswego, February 1–22, 1954; Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, March 8–29, 1954; Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, April 12–May 2, 1954.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, December 19, 1962–February 12, 1963. (Exhibition catalogue: Seitz 1962), no. 77, p. 54, as Child's Companions. Traveled to: Washington Gallery of Modern Art, D.C., March 12–April 14, 1963.
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, Max Ernst and Arshile Gorky from the Collection of Julien Levy, March 19–May 3, 1964, no. 21, ill. in b/w, as Child's Companions.
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, New York (organizer), Gallery at the Better Living Center at the New York World's Fair, Queens, Four Centuries of American Masterpieces, May 22–October 18, 1964, no. 30, as "Child's Companion".
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York School: the First Generation, Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s, June 16–August 1, 1965, no. 21, ill. in b/w, p. 81, as Child's Companions.
Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C., 20th Century Painting And Sculpture, September 17–October 24, 1965, no. 24, as Child's Companions, 1945, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Julien Levy, Bridgewater. Traveled to: Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, October 28–December 6, 1965.
Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Kompass III: Schilderkunst na 1945 uit New York / Malerei nach 1945 aus New York / Paintings after 1945 in New York, November 9–December 17, 1967, no. 4, ill. in b/w, pp. 23, 36, as "Child Companions". Traveled to: Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, December 30, 1967–February 11, 1968 (as Kompass New York).
M. Knoedler & Co. Inc, New York, Gorky, de Kooning, Newman, June 26–September 20, 1969, as "Child's Companion".
Pasadena Art Museum, California, Painting in New York: 1944 to 1969, November 24, 1969–January 11, 1970, no. 2, ill. in color, p. 18, as Child's Companions.
Galerie Brusberg, Hannover, Germany, Arshile Gorky, June 18–August 31, 1971, p. 16; ill. in color, p. 17, as Child's Companions.
Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark, Amerikansk kunst 1950–70, September 11–October 24, 1971, no. 13, as "Legekammerater".
Galleria Galatea, Turin, Italy, Arshile Gorky, February 29–March 27, 1972, ill. in color, as Child's Companions.
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (organizers), Arshile Gorky: Hommage, 2007, ill. in color, p. 65, as "Les Compagnons d'enfance / Child's Companions". Traveled to: Centre culturel Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris, April 2–June 4, 2007; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, April 2–June 4, 2007.
Miller, Dorothy C., ed. Fourteen Americans. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1946. Exhibition catalogue (1946c New York), no. 38, p. 77, as Child's Companions.
M.B. [Margaret Breuning]. "Fifty-Seventh Street in Review: A Memorial for Arshile Gorky." Art Digest (New York) 24, no. 13 (April 1, 1950), discussed p. 18, as "Child Companions".
Schwabacher, Ethel. Arshile Gorky. Introduction by Meyer Schapiro. New York: The Macmillan Company for the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1957. Monograph, discussed p. 102, as "Child's Companion".
"Modern Art Exhibit In D.C." The Sun (Baltimore), September 12, 1965, discussed, sec. D, p. 9. as "an Arshile Gorky".
Levy, Julien. Arshile Gorky. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966. Monograph, pl. 132, ill. in color, p. 156, as Child's Companions.
Galerie Brusberg, ed. "Arshile Gorky." Brusberg-Berichte 12 (1971), ill. in color, p. 41, as Child's Companions.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. New York School: the First Generation, Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s. Foreword by Maurice Tuchman. Rev. ed. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society Ltd., 1971, fig. 28, ill. in b/w, p. 63, as Child's Companions.
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. 301, ill. in b/w, pp. 462–63, as Child's Companions.
Cooper, Harry. "To Organize Painting." In Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective, edited by Michael Taylor. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009. Exhibition catalogue, fig. 46, ill. in color, p. 68, as Child's Companions.

Reverse, in pencil, on a section of the canvas folded around the upper stretcher bar [not in artist's hand]: Child's Companions

The reverse is covered by a backing board; the inscription information and marking are known from photographs provided by Christie's, New York.

On loan: Portland Art Museum, Oregon, August 1, 2016–August 14, 2017; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana, September 15, 2017–September 16, 2018; Rockwell Museum, Corning, New York, December 21, 2018–May 19, 2019; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, October 1, 2019–June 15, 2021.


The painting's overall composition is closely referenced in two known drawings (see related work).

The painting is a strong example of Gorky's use of a liner brush, the long-haired, fine-tipped paintbrush used by sign painters to make extremely thin lines of uniform weight, which he began experimenting with in the early 1940s. As a teenager, Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) learned about this tool while apprenticed to a decorating firm in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and takes credit for introducing it to Gorky. As de Kooning later recalled, Gorky was frustrated by not being able to transfer the delicate lines of his drawings into the compositions of his paintings with the large brushes he was using. "Once he bought [a liner brush], de Kooning remembers, Gorky spent the day in ecstasy painting long thin lines."1 Gorky first experimented with a liner brush around 1943, using it to create several paintings before setting it aside until 1945. The 1945 paintings, with their reinstatement of the primacy of the liner brush line on a white ground, are extremely consistent in style.

The painting was titled by Gorky in anticipation of his spring 1946 solo show at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, likely through a collaborative process of free association, which he and André Breton (1896–1966) had experimented with a year earlier (see commentary for P287).

1. Hayden Herrera adds that the artist Gabor Peterdi (1915–2001) also took credit for introducing the liner brush to Gorky. Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), 434. Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016), 105. See also: Harold Rosenberg, Arshile Gorky: The Man, The Time, The Idea (New York: Horizon Press, 1962), 68; William Seitz, "IV: Nature (c. 1942–48)," in Arshile Gorky: Paintings, Drawings, Studies, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1962), 34–5. 

2. Julien Levy GalleryNew YorkArshile Gorky: PaintingsApril 9–May 4, 1946.

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