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    Sale 2104

    Selections From The Allan Stone Collection

    12 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 611

    Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)

    Portrait of a Woman (The Artist's Wife)

    Price Realised  

    Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)
    Portrait of a Woman (The Artist's Wife)
    signed 'GORKY' (top left)
    oil and paper laid down on board
    13¼ x 7½ in. (33.6 x 19 cm.)
    Painted in 1930.


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    Arshile Gorky's Portrait of a Woman (The Artist's Wife) of 1930 is a beautiful portrait of idealized womanhood. Gorky paints his subject in a classical guise, using boldly sculptural contours, which pays homage to Picasso's portraits of the 1920s. Fascinated with the great Spanish master, he had previously experimented with a number of Picasso's signature styles, including analytic and synthetic cubism. In choosing this classically-minded style for his portrait of a woman, Gorky stressed a sense of timelessness. Placed in an ambiguous space, his subject is draped in a white robe that falls off her shoulder with dark hair that is arranged in a coiffure that echoes classical sculpture. Moreover, her features are rendered with a solidity that suggests marble sculpture (indeed, one of Gorky's friends recalled seeing a reproduction of Greek sculptures of a head and hand in his new Union Square studio that he moved to in 1930). His subject is at once highly sensual in her dishabille, yet the way that her head is resting on her chin also suggests a pensive quality. In fact, her pose is that of the conventional gesture for melancholia. Gorky's muted palette of pearly gray and flesh tones is contrasted to the dark color of her hair and deep-set eyes that bring a special intensity to her features. This image captures a sense of ideal womanhood rather than his actual wife at the time, as he would not marry for another five years. In the related work in the Hirsshorn Museum's collection, Portrait of Myself and My Imaginary Wife, Gorky pictures his own downcast visage (based on a 1907 Picasso) next to a head of a dark-haired woman that echoes the present portrait. The present work is a more fully elaborated rendering of this female figure, which beautifully captures Gorky's lyrical yet melancholy vision of ideal femininity.

    Provenance

    CDS Gallery, New York
    Forum Gallery, New York


    Exhibited

    New York, Allan Stone Gallery, The Figure, November-December 2001.