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The Artist and His Mother

c. 1926–36

Arshile Gorky, The Artist and His Mother, c. 1926–36. Oil on canvas, 60 × 50 in. (152.4 × 127 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Julien Levy for Maro and Natasha Gorky in memory of their father  50.17
© 2010 The Arshile Gorky Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
This portrait of Arshile Gorky and his mother is based on a photograph from 1912 when the artist was eight years old. A few years after this photograph was taken, Gorky experienced the horror of war and genocide when the Ottoman Turkish army invaded Armenia, the country where he was born and raised. Gorky, his mother, and his younger sister were forced to leave their home and walk to the Russian border on a death march. They survived, but Gorky’s mother never recovered her health. In 1919, she died of starvation in a refugee camp. The following year, the fifteen-year-old Gorky and his sister immigrated to the United States to live with their father. For Gorky, the photograph became a treasured memory of his mother.
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Arshile Gorky, The Artist And His Mother, c.1926-36
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