Arshile Gorky: Selections from the Gerard L. Cafesjian Collection will exhibit 16 drawings and 7 paintings by the man who would become known as the most monumental presence in American twentieth-century art. This is the first major exhibition of original work in Armenia by Gorky, an artist once described by a critic of the time as a “hero of Abstract Expressionism.”
“The many preliminary drawings and oil sketches in this exhibition provide unparalleled insight into Gorky’s unique working method,” Dr. Michael De Marsche, Executive Director of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, recently stated. “Gorky’s complex, large-scale compositions of cohesive design and universal theme continue to be viewed as some of the finest examples of American art at mid-century.”
Gorky fled Western Armenia during the genocide of 1915 and witnessed the death of his mother from starvation. After living in Yerevan for a period of time, he arrived in the United States in 1920 at the age of fifteen. Gorky remained passionate about Armenia throughout his life. In the many letters he sent to his brother Moorad and sister Vartoosh, he expressed a longing to return to Western Armenia, and wrote poetically about every possible aspect of the land: the ancient khachkars of its villages; the salty air of his native region of Van; the fragrance of the country’s mountain air; the dolma he ate as a youth; and, of course, his beloved Mount Ararat, “the brain of nature,” as he described it, “ordaining its movements.”
Gorky eventually became one of the most influential painters of the twentieth century, and just as his career was reaching new heights, his life ended tragically in suicide in 1948. The Gorky exhibition will be one of many exhibitions commemorating the opening of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts–a fitting tribute to a man whose death 60 years ago has been marked by major exhibitions of his work in museums throughout the world, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and London’s Tate Modern.
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts Grand Opening Celebration will begin on the evening of Saturday, November 7th, with a spectacular fireworks display near the Cascade monument. The Cascade has been completely transformed into one of the world’s outstanding contemporary art centers.
On Sunday, November 8th, the Center invites the public to view all the renovations that have taken place inside the Cascade, and to enjoy an outstanding schedule of exhibitions, lectures, book-signings, and events.