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Profile | Arshile Gorky

Profile | Arshile Gorky

April 15, 1904 - July 21, 1948


By Lilly Torosyan


Few artists have been able to transcend ethnocultural borders and earn worldwide name recognition: Arshile Gorky is among them. A key founder of abstract expressionist art, Gorky (born Vosdanig Manoug Adoyan) was a prolific painter whose tragic personal life influenced and elevated his art to uncharted heights. A survivor of the Armenian Genocide, he sought safety and peace in the United States, achieving the former but not the latter, tragically taking his own life at the height of his prowess. As contemporary British art critic William Feaver stated, Gorky’s death left the field open for his now more-famous rival, Jackson Pollock. Despite his early departure, Gorky’s artistic legacy lives on today, with many of his paintings and drawings hanging in the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries

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Phonetic spelling

/ˌɑːrʃiːl ˈɡɔːrkiː/

Place of birth

Khorgom (today's Dilkaya), on the shores of Lake Van in the Ottoman Empire

Places of residence

Van, Ottoman Empire; Yerevan, Armenia; Boston/New York/Sherman, United States




Abstract Expressionism


"I met a lot of artists — but then I met Gorky... He had an extraordinary gift for hitting the nail on the head; remarkable. So I immediately attached myself to him and we became very good friends. It was nice to be foreigners meeting in some new place.

- Willem De Kooning

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