Arshile Gorky, The Betrothal, 1947, oil on canvas, 50 5/8 x 39 1/4". © 2009 Estate of Arshile Gorky/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective

Tate Modern
March 17–May 3, 2010

MOCA Geffen Contemporary
152 North Central Avenue
June 6–September 20, 2010

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
October 20, 2009–January 10, 2010

Curated by Michael Taylor

When he took his own life in 1948 at age forty-four, Arshile Gorky was not only in the prime of his career but also in a sweet spot in the history of American art. No less a deft draftsman than a dazzling colorist, the artist had addressed advanced painting’s imperative at the time head-on: to work through the legacies of Picasso and Surrealism and arrive at a personal, abstract vernacular. The results, as they say, are history. Gorky’s large canvases, which remain emblematic of the New York School, will join sculptures, drawings, and prints in this 180-work retrospective, introducing to a new generation a seminal figure for whom painting’s stakes were a matter of life and death.