Arshile Gorky a retrospective exhibition banner

Woman with a Palette

Woman with a Palette is a rare example of a painting that escaped Gorky’s habit of reworking his canvases over many years. Acquired by a friend when first completed, it shows the egg-shell finish typical of his 1920s paintings. The earthy colours and fresco-like quality seem to reflect his interest in a range of artists from ancient muralists to the contemporary work of Picasso. In exploring the ways in which observed reality could be resolved into abstract compositions, Gorky reconceived the same subject in the two associated canvases seen here. In these paintings planes of flat colour interlock in a way that shows his understanding of Cubist painting.