Room 10

Arshile Gorky a retrospective exhibition banner


Gorky’s response to the landscape set him slightly apart from Surrealism, though he shared with the movement certain concerns with a charged eroticism. This is evident in some of the details hedged-in between the free-flowing line and warm colouring of his works. Memory and observation melded to produce works of evocative power. With new confidence in these technical explorations, Gorky reassessed a number of paintings over an extended period. These double-dated works are chromatically richer and more dense, anticipating the processes of his final canvases. The enthusiasm shown by Breton enabled Gorky to finally secure the support of a dealer, allowing his work to reach a wider audience and life to become a little less precarious. Though Gorky would not pursue Surrealist ideas dogmatically, his breakthrough to a gestural abstraction paved the way for the Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning and other younger colleagues in New York.