156
156

PROPERTY FROM AN ESTATE

Arshile Gorky
CUBIST STILL LIFE
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 137,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
156

PROPERTY FROM AN ESTATE

Arshile Gorky
CUBIST STILL LIFE
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 137,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
New York

Arshile Gorky
1904 - 1948
CUBIST STILL LIFE
Oil on canvas
22 1/8 by 15 1/8 in.
56.1 by 38.4 cm
Painted circa 1928-29.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

This work is recorded in the Arshile Gorky Foundation Archives under number P63.

Provenance

Helen Austin, New York (acquired directly from the artist in 1928-29)
James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above 

Exhibited

Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 1996, n.n, illustrated in color in the catalogue 

Literature

Jim Jordan & Robert Goldwater, The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue, New York, 1982, illustrated pl. 63
IFAR Journal, vol. 10, no. 3/4, 2008-09, illustrated p. 57

Catalogue Note

Arshile Gorky’s unique reinterpretation of Cubism through the classical genre of still life is definitively rendered in the present lot, completed circa 1929, and marks a significant stylistic development within the artist’s tragically short career. Born in Armenia at the time of the genocide, Gorky fled his turbulent past by emigrating to America in 1920, where he quickly joined the avant-garde New York art scene flourishing at the beginning of the twentieth century. Gorky was predominantly self-taught, and looked to the revolutionary styles of Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró while developing his own visual approach. Arthur Revington noted that, “Cubism had just begun to make an appearance and Gorky was well aware of it. He possessed an immediate instinct” (Arthur Revington, quoted  in Nouritza Matossian, Black Angel: The Life of Arshile Gorky, New York, 2000, p. 16). Gorky’s extensive knowledge of early European modernist styles, as well as his ability to emulate the pictorial innovations of such European masters fundamentally place him apart from his contemporaries, who were largely preoccupied with Social Realism and depictions of the "American scene" at the time Cubist Still Life was executed. Gorky’s reverence to, and subsequent study of, artists such as Cézanne, Picasso and Braque illuminate his own belief in the significance of art historical tradition and continuity, as well as the notion that an artist can only reach maturity after having experienced a period of comprehensive apprenticeship.

Such Cubist influences are unmistakable in the present composition, especially in the fractured surface and through Gorky’s dynamic emphasis on line over form and color. Cubist Still Life depicts a black table upon which items such as a glass are discernible, as well as a tiled floor, a visual device that enhances the juxtaposed spatial planes forming the artist’s geometric framework. A first glance of the present lot immediately recalls early Cubist works such as Braque’s Glass on a Table of circa 1909-10 and Picasso’s celebrated Still Life with Chair Caning of 1912, two works with which Gorky certainly would have been familiar. In 1929, the same year Gorky executed Cubist Still Life, Braque also completed The Large Pedestal Table (see fig. 1), exhibiting a familiar three-legged black table upon which a fractured still life is arranged. While Gorky manipulated the Synthetic Cubism of Picasso and Braque, he employed their techniques as an intellectual tool, adding his own subtleties and nuances, significantly warming their color palette and taking a critically more gestural approach. Gorky’s Cubist period offers a key link between pre-war European modern styles and the proceeding Abstract Expressionist movement, in which the artist would later play a significant role. Although his life tragically ended in 1948 when he commit suicide, the unique and exceptional repertoire that Gorky left behind made a powerful impact upon the progression and transformation of American art in the twentieth century.

From 1926 to 1931 Gorky taught drawing at the Grand Central Art School in New York, where Helen Austin, the first owner of the present work, was a student.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
New York