Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Catalogue Entry

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Photo: Peter Schälchli
P346
The Opaque
1947
Oil on canvas
34 x 41 in. (86.4 x 104.1 cm)
Front, lower left: A Gorky / [paraph] / 47
Reverse not seen
Private collection
Exhibitions
Julien Levy Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky, February 29–March 20, 1948, no. 7, as The Opaque.
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, Paintings by Arshile Gorky from 1929 to 1948, February 5–March 3, 1962, no. 26, ill. in b/w, as The Opaque.
Arts Council of Great Britain, London (organizer), Tate Gallery, Arshile Gorky: Paintings and Drawings, April 2–May 2, 1965, no. 98, as The Opaque.
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. 131, as "Het ondoorzichtige / The opaque." 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), Arshile Gorky: Paintings and Drawings, 1976–77, no. 14, as The Opaque. Traveled to: Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, United Kingdom, December 19, 1976–January 16, 1977; Serpentine Gallery, London, March 12–April 11, 1977.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 227a, as The Opaque, [not in catalogue]. Traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, September 11–November 8, 1981; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 3, 1981–February 28, 1982.
Gagosian Gallery, New York, Arshile Gorky: 1947, May 6–July 1, 2011, as The Opaque.
Hauser & Wirth, New York, Ardent Nature: Arshile Gorky Landscapes, 1943–47, November 2–December 23, 2017 (Exhibition catalogue: Spender and Devaney 2017), ill. in color, pp. 86–87; p. 139, as The Opaque.
Literature
"Special issue on Gorky in Italian and English with text by Toti Scialoja and excerpts from Schwabacher 1957." Arti Visive 6–7 (Summer 1957), no. 7, ill. in b/w, as The Opaque.
Levy, Julien. Arshile Gorky. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1966. Monograph, pl. 198, ill. in b/w, p. 222, as The Opaque.
Rand, Harry. "The Calendars of Arshile Gorky." Arts Magazine (New York) 50, no. 7 (March 1976), discussed pp. 77–79, as The Opaque.
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. 32, ill. in b/w, p. 77, as The Opaque.
Rand, Harry. Arshile Gorky: The Implication of Symbols. London and Montclair, N.J.: George Prior and Allanheld & Schram, 1980, 1981. Monograph, fig. 8–21, ill. in b/w, p. 135, as The Opaque.
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 p. 91, as The Opaque.
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. 346, ill. in b/w, pp. 524–25, as The Opaque.
Donnell-Kotrozo, Carol. [no title]. Review of Arshile Gorky: The Implications of Symbols, by Harry Rand. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (Hoboken, NJ) 41 (June 1983), discussed p. 462, as The Opaque.
Rand, Harry. Arshile Gorky: The Implication of Symbols. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991. Monograph, fig. 8–21, ill. in b/w, p. 154, as The Opaque.
Notes
The reverse is covered by a backing board; no documentation of the reverse of the original canvas has been made available.

Commentary

Gorky titled the painting The Opaque for its 1948 showing at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, which took place several months before his death in July of that year.1 According to Julien Levy (1906–1981), by this point, in part due to André Breton's (1896–1966) departure from New York in May 1946, Gorky's process for arriving at titles had evolved from its earlier basis in collaborative plays of free association (see commentary for P287), to an increasingly succinct "vocabulary" that was "more manifest and less a process of discovery."2

1. Julien Levy GalleryNew York, Arshile GorkyFebruary 29–March 20, 1948No catalogue. The works that appeared in the exhibition are known from a price list on file in the Julien Levy papers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives.

2. Julien Levy, Arshile Gorky (New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1966), 36.