Arshile Gorky - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Julien Levy, Bridgewater, Connecticut
    Richard L. Feigen & Company, Chicago, February 1960
    Steingrim Laursen, Denmark, March 1973
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Saratoga Springs, New York, Hathorn Gallery, Skidmore College, The Drawings of Arshile Gorky, October 21- November 9, 1969
    Hannover, Germany, Galerie Brusberg, Arshile Gorky, June 18 - August 31, 1971
    Cologne, Baukunst, Der Geist des Surrealismus, October 4 - November 20, 1971
    Turin, Galleria Galatea, Arshile Gorky, February 29 - March 27, 1972
    Toronto, Dunkelman Gallery, Arshile Gorky, 1904 - 1948, October 14 - October 20, 1972
    Düsseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Surrealität Bildrealität, December 8, 1974 – February 2, 1975
    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, El Surrealismo entre el Viejo y Nuevo Mundo, December 4, 1989 - February 4, 1990

  • Literature

    Hathorn Gallery, The Drawings of Arshile Gorky, exh. cat., Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 1969. no. 33 (illustrated)
    Baukunst, Der Geist des Surrealismus, exh. cat., Cologne, 1971, no. 47. (illustrated)
    T. Chiaretti, Arshile Gorky, exh. cat., Galleria Galatea, Turin, 1972, unnumbered checklist (illustrated)
    Dunkelman Gallery, Arshile Gorky, 1904 - 1948, exh. cat., Toronto, 1972, no. 18 (illustrated)
    Art International, April 1973, p. 41 (illustrated)
    J. Manuel Bonet, El Surrealismo entre el Viejo y Nuevo Mundo, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, 1989 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint. Drawing gives the artist the ability to control his line and hand. It develops in him the precision of line and touch. This is the path towards a masterwork.

    (Arshile Gorky quoted in K. Mooradian, Arshile Gorky Adoian, Chicago, 1978, p. 276).

    Up until 1948, Arshile Gorky produced highly original abstractions that derived from childhood memories, notably references to the gardens, orchards and wheat felds of his rural Armenian homeland. In the various unique landscapes that Gorky executed in the 1940s, his artistic style evolved to incorporate natural and organic forms, which he depicted with an effervescent and erotic quality. Through the complex yet delicate intertwining lines of pencil and waxed crayon, quasi-fgurative forms begin to emerge from the page.

    In the present lot, Untitled, 1945, Gorky blends together elements of abstraction and fguration into one dynamic composition. The range of Gorky’s line straddles between ethereal traces of gossamer graphite to thicker, more robust moments of darker applied medium, interspersed with subtle highlights of yellow in the upper corner. Although the life of Arshile Gorky was tragically cut short, his highly original and uniquely stylized oeuvre has left a signifcant impression on the art world. His prolifc body of work will continue to be extolled, confrming him as the last of the great Surrealist artists and one of the first Abstract Expressionists of his time.



circa 1945
pencil and crayon on Strathmore paper
19 x 24 3/4 in. (48.3 x 62.9 cm)
Dedicated “J. Levy 1” on the reverse.
This work is recorded in the Arshile Gorky Foundation Archives, under number D1294.

$300,000 - 400,000 

Contemporary Art Day Sale

16 November 2012
New York