Arshile Gorky: 1904 – 1948 at Ca’ Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice, May 8 – September 22, 2019

“Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia presents the first retrospective survey of the American artist Arshile Gorky in Italy, entitled ‘Arshile Gorky: 1904 – 1948’, at Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art. Bringing together over 80 works, this major exhibition explores the full breadth of Gorky’s oeuvre. From his interrogation of modernist masters in the 1920s, to his late paintings of the 1940s, Gorky’s singular vision was present throughout, defining him as one of the pivotal figures of 20th century American Art, alongside Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.

“A hundred years ago the teenage Arshile Gorky got as close to Venice as he’d ever be in person, when the boat taking him to America stopped in Naples. Spiritually, however, he was never far from Italy – from the art of Pompeii, Uccello and de Chirico, who were among his chosen predecessors. He liked to work as fast as Tintoretto famously did, because as he once said, ‘when we are in tune with our times we do things with greater ease.’ We hope that this exhibition fills visitors with a sense not only of Gorky’s singular stance but also of his prolific energy, and it is the first time that his work will be seen on this scale in Italy. He was a man who rejected borders and labels of all kinds, from his birth name to art historical categories – yet the view from Venice 2019 might confirm that such individual expression could only emerge from mid-century New York.” — Saskia Spender, President, The Arshile Gorky Foundation, and granddaughter of the artist

Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia / Notturno, Engima e Nostalgia, ca. 1931–32. Pen and ink on board / Penna e inchiostro su tavola, 26 ⅛ x 34 ⅛ in. (66.2 x 86.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 50th Anniversary Gift of/ Dono del 50° Anniversario di Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Bergman

Portrait of Myself and My Imaginary Wife / Ritratto di me stesso e della mia moglie immaginaria, 1933–34. Oil on paperboard / Olio su cartone, 8 ⅝ × 14 ¼ in. (21.7 × 36.2 cm). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. Gift of / Dono di the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966, 66.2150. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

Self-Portrait / Autoritratto, ca. 1937. Oil on canvas / Olio su tela, 55 ½ x 34 in. (141 x 86.4 cm). Private collection / Collezione privata. Photo: Constance Mensh for the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Portrait of Master Bill / Ritratto di Master Bill, ca. 1937. Oil on canvas / Olio su tela, 52 ⅛ x 40 ⅛ in. (132.4 x 101.9 cm). Private collection / Collezione privata

Portrait of Ahko / Ritratto di Ahko, ca. 1937. Oil on canvas / Olio su tela, 19 ½ x 15 in. (49.5 x 38.1 cm). Private collection / Collezione privata

The Liver Is the Cock’s Comb / Il fegato è la cresta del gallo,1944. Oil on canvas / Olio su tela, 73 ¼ x 98 ⅜ in. (186.1 x 249.9 cm. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. Gift of / Dono di Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1956, K1956:4. Image courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Landscape-Table / Tavolo-Paesaggio, 1945. Oil on canvas / Olio su tela, 36 ¼ x 47 ⅝ in. (92 x 121 cm). Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne / Centre de création industrielle, Paris / Parigi. Purchased / Acquisto, 1971, AM 1971-151. Photo: Philippe Migeat © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais

Apple Orchard / Frutteto di mele, ca. 1943–46. Pastel on paper / Pastelli su carta, 42 x 52 in. (106.7 x 132.1 cm). Collection / Collezione Agnes Gund. Photo: Genevieve Hanson

Pastoral / Pastorale, ca. 1947. Oil and pencil on canvas / Olio e matita su tela, 44 x 56 in. (111.8 x 142.2 cm). Private collection / Collezione privata. Photo: Christopher Burke

Dark Green Painting / Pittura verde scuro, ca. 1948. Oil on canvas / Olio su tela, 43 3/4 x 55 1/2 in. (111.1 x 141 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art Gift (by exchange) of / Dono (in scambio) di Mr. and Mrs. Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee and R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll, 1995, 1995-54-1

Arshile Gorky, late 1920s. Unknown photographer.

“Through this first monographic exhibition in Italy, Gorky’s extraordinary creative persona will illuminate areas still in the shadows of the history of the art of our country, allowing us to explore in depth the osmosis between European and American painting, of which Gorky was undoubtedly one of the most important innovators”. — Gabriella Belli, Director, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia

“In bringing together a number of Gorky’s most important works from across his entire career, this exhibition will serve to reinforce his significance within the development and canon of 20th century American art, and highlight his continuing relevance.” — Edith Devaney, Curator

‘Arshile Gorky: 1904 – 1948’ was organized in collaboration with The Arshile Gorky Foundation and curated by Gabriella Belli, Director of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, and Edith Devaney, curator at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Images courtesy Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.