An immigrant from a small Armenian village in eastern Turkey, Arshile Gorky (c. 1900-1948) made his way to the U.S. to become a painter in 1920. Having grown up haunted by memories of his alternately idyllic and terrifying childhood—his family fled the Turks' genocide of Armenians in 1915—he changed his name and created a new identity for himself in America. As an artist, Gorky bridged the generation of the surrealists and that of the abstract expressionists and was a very influential figure among the latter. His work was an inspiration to Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, among others. Matthew Spender illuminates this world as he tells the story of Gorky's life and career.
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"One of the finest biographies of an artist I have ever read." (John Ashbery )
"Mr. Spender's book is a gift to anyone interested in 20th-century American art." (Roberta Smith, New York Times )
"Only in America could an Armenian refugee who never set foot in France become the last great exponent of School of Paris painting and the first great exemplar of the postwar New York School of modernism. So this is an American story, and a classic immigrant's story, too -- one of dislocation and self-discovery, of the tension between inbred and acquired identities -- played out not in tenements or on Main Street but in the lofts and salons of the art world." (Robert Storr, Washington Post Book World )From the Inside Flap:
"One of the finest biographies of an artist I have ever read."—John Ashbery
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