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Burial of Gorky
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Burial of Gorky

Hans Burkhardt, American (born Switzerland), 1904 - 1994

Made in United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

32 × 42 inches (81.3 × 106.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift and partial purchase from the Hans G. and Thordis W. Burkhardt Foundation and the Edgar Viguers Seeler Fund, 2010

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death [x]   mourning [x]   processions [x]  

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This sorrowful painting depicts a procession of columnar pallbearers carrying the body of Arshile Gorky in a funeral cortege. The blood that drips from the deceased artist's heart reflects Burkhardt's anguish at the passing of his friend and mentor, who committed suicide on July 21, 1948. Burkhardt first met Gorky in 1927, when he enrolled in his class at the Grand Central School of Art, New York, and later took private lessons in Gorky's studio until 1937, when he moved permanently to Los Angeles. Gorky taught Burkhardt the pictorial complexities of Cubism, the lessons of which can still be discerned in this heartfelt homage.