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Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)
Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)

Mother and Child

Details
Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)
Mother and Child
oil on canvas
47 x 36 in. (119.3 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 1937.
Provenance
Miss Anna Walinska, New York, acquired from the artist
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 3 May 1989, lot 7
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Literature
J. Jordan and R. Goldwater, The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue, New York and London, 1982, p. 339, no. 191 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

In the 1930's, Arshile Gorky was very close with Willem de Kooning and their works of this period often have a strong affinity. In Mother and Child, we see Gorky abstracting a classic subject by transforming the figures into mostly biomorphic shapes, in a fractured style indebted to cubism, but in Gorky's unmistakable manner. The surface of the painting has smooth, almost marble like quality, which came from his practice of painting thickly and then scraping and sanding down the surface. For Gorky, the struggle of creation was an important part of the work and the subtle colors of the underpainting create a rich surface, full of painterly incident.

The painting was given to Gorky to his friend and gallery owner, Anna Walinska (1906-1997), a painter as well as founder and director of the Guild Gallery. She gave Gorky one of his first one man shows, exhibiting his work frequently in the lat 1930's. She also showed Theodore Roszak, Raphael Soyer and Chaim Gross. Walinska was very close with Gorky and he painted her portrait in 1937.

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