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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective
October 21, 2009 - January 10, 2010
Dark Green Painting
Dark Green Painting, c. 1948
Arshile Gorky, American (born Armenia)
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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective
October 21, 2009 - January 10, 2010
Free after Museum admission

Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Arshile Gorky (about 1902–1948), a seminal figure in the movement toward abstraction that transformed American art. This exhibition, which includes about 178 works of art, surveys Gorky’s entire career from the early 1920s until his death by suicide in 1948. The retrospective includes paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings—some of which are being shown for the first time—and reveals Gorky’s development as an artist and the evolution of his singular visual vocabulary and mature painting style.

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The highlight of the exhibition is a series of “creation chambers,” based on the artist’s description of his studio in Union Square, New York, in which some of Gorky’s most powerful and best-known paintings are being shown alongside their related studies and preparatory drawings. Benefiting from new biographical information that has come to light in recent years, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective will present a critical reassessment of this key figure in modern art. This comprehensive retrospective is the first full-scale survey of Gorky’s work in nearly thirty years, thus providing a new generation of viewers with the opportunity to see this complex, influential, and deeply moving body of work.


Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Tate Modern, London, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.


The international tour is made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The U.S. tour is supported by The Lincy Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

In Philadelphia, the exhibition is made possible by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, and by the Neubauer Family Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Dadourian Foundation, The Robert Montgomery Scott Fund for Exhibitions, the Locks Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Hirair Hovnanian and other Friends of Arshile Gorky, a group of generous individuals.

The catalogue was made possible by Larry Gagosian and The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications, with additional support provided by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.


Michael Taylor • The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art


Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor


Philadelphia Museum of Art • October 2009 - January 2010
Tate Modern, London • Spring 2010
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles • Summer 2010