Arshile Gorky Catalogue Raisonné
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Catalogue Entry

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Photo: Peter Schälchli
D0636
[Drawing for Man's Conquest of the Air, Aviation Building, 1939 New York World's Fair]
c. 1937–39
Gouache and graphite pencil on paper
5 7/8 x 23 7/8 in. (14.9 x 60.6 cm)
Recto not inscribed
Verso not seen
Private collection
Exhibitions
Museum of Modern Art, New York, International Council (organizer), Arshile Gorky Drawings, 1962–68, no. 16, as "Study for Newark Airport Mural." Traveled to: Newcomb College, Tulane University, New Orleans, September 23–October 14, 1962; Chatham College, Pittsburgh, October 29–November 19, 1962; Watkins Institute, Nashville, January 9–30, 1963; Spiva Art Center, Joplin, Missouri, February 7–28, 1963; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, March 15–April 5, 1963; Marshall College, Huntington, West Virginia, April 22–May 13, 1963; Seibu Gallery, Seibu Department Store, Tokyo, July 26–August 11, 1963; Westmar College, LeMars, Iowa, September 2–23, 1963; Washington University, Saint Louis, October 4–25, 1963; Arts Club of Chicago, November 10–December 15, 1963; Indiana University, Bloomington, January 2–23, 1964; Wells College, Aurora, New York, February 7–28, 1964; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, March 16–April 6, 1964; Jewish Museum, New York, April 21–June 22, 1964; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany, July 6–August 5, 1964; Hamburger Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany, August 7–September 4, 1964; Amerika Haus, Berlin, September 11–October 6, 1964; Folkwangmuseum, Essen, Germany, October 15–November 15, 1964; York City Art Gallery, United Kingdom, December 5–30, 1964; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, January 6–February 13, 1965; Midland Group Gallery, Nottingham, United Kingdom, February 20–March 6, 1965; City Gallery of Art, Bristol, United Kingdom, March 13–April 3, 1965; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, April 10–May 1, 1965; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, May 27–June 27, 1965; Boymans-van-Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 24–September 5, 1965; Museum des 20ten Jahrhunderts, Vienna, September 18–October 17, 1965; Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon, November 23–December 23, 1965; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, January 22–February 13, 1966; Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden, March 5–April 1, 1966; Öffentliche Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland, April 30–June 5, 1966; Galerija Grada Zagreba, Zagreb, Yugoslavia, June 21–July 10, 1966; Galerija Doma Omladine, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, October 6–16, 1966; Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, April 2–May 15, 1967; Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, November 29–December 23, 1967; Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, January 21–February 14, 1968; Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia, March 21–April 5, 1968; Galeria Universitaria Aristos, Mexico City, May 3–June 5, 1968.
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. 24, as "Voorstudie voor een wandschildering voor het vliegveld te Newark, New Jersey / Study for Newark Airport Mural," dated 1935–1936. Traveled to: Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 24–September 5, 1965. (Museum Boymans van Beuingen 1965)..
M. Knoedler & Co. Inc, New York, Gorky: Drawings, November 25–December 27, 1969 (Exhibition catalogue: Jordan 1969), no. 35, ill. in b/w (repr. upside down), p. 28; p. 56, as "Study related to Newark Airport Murals and World's Fair Aviation Murals."
Newark Museum, New Jersey, Murals without Walls: Arshile Gorky's Aviation Murals Rediscovered, November 15, 1978–March 11, 1979 (Exhibition catalogue: O'Connor 1978b), no. 26, ill. in b/w, p. 87, as "Study for Aviation, Newark Airport." Traveled to: Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, New York, July 1–August 6, 1979; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C, October 4–November 25, 1979; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, December 23, 1979–February 3, 1980; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 28–April 20, 1980; Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California, May 10–June 22, 1980; Queens Museum, New York, September 6–November 2, 1980.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Arshile Gorky 1904–1948: A Retrospective, April 24–July 19, 1981, no. 83, ill in b/w (repr. upside down), p. 129, as "Study Related to Newark Airport and World's Fair Aviation Building Murals," dated 1935–36. Traveled to: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, September 11–November 8, 1981; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 3, 1981–February 28, 1982.
Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948, October 17–December 23, 1989, no. 66, ill. in color, p. 144, as "Study for Aviation, Newark Airport Mural." Traveled to: Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, January 19–March 25, 1990.
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland, Arshile Gorky: Œuvres sur Papier, 1929–1947; Arbeiten auf Papier, 1929–1947, September 21–November 11, 1990, no. 23, ill. in b/w, p. 68, as "Etude pour la peinture murale de l'aéroport de Newark / Studie zum Wandgemälde im Flughafen von Newark." Traveled to: Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, January 16–February 27, 1991; Musée Cantini, Marseille, France, March 15–May 30, 1991; Musée d'art Moderne de Saint Étienne, France, June 20–September 2, 1991; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, September 25–November 10, 1991; Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany, November 19, 1991–January 26, 1992.
Ca'Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice, Italy, Arshile Gorky: 1904–1948, May 8–September 22, 2019, ill. in color, p. 158, as "Study for Newark Airport Mural."
Literature
Cooksey, Chelsea L. "Arshile Gorky: The Abstraction of Symbol, Figure, and Form." M.A. Thesis, Purchase College, State University of New York, 2009, fig. 34b, ill. in b/w, p. 71, as "Study related to Newark Airport and World's Fair Aviation Murals."
Notes
The drawing was examined framed; no documentation of its verso has been made available.

Commentary

This is a preparatory drawing for a mural that Gorky completed in the Aviation Building at the 1939 New York World's Fair held in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens. The building's lead architect, William Lescaze (1896–1969), who had met Gorky in the mid-1930s through the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP), proposed the artist for the commission. Lescaze's recommendation of Gorky to the Fair's Board of Design was, in part, informed by his knowledge of the murals Gorky had completed at Newark Airport in New Jersey between 1936 and 1937, and which he had surveyed as a member of the WPA/FAP's Design Studio.

The airplane on the far right of the drawing can be seen at far left in the upper panel of the completed World's Fair mural, Man's Conquest of the Air (P222). 

Related Work

Theme: Mural

[Drawing for Aviation-Themed Mural, Works Progress Administration], c. 1935–36, D0635
c. 1935–36
Graphite pencil on paper
D0635
Graphite pencil on paper
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