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Arshile Gorky: The Plow and the Song: A Life in Letters and Documents
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Author of From a High Place: A Life of Arshile Gorky, Matthew Spender presents a new expanded edition of his 2010 publication Arshile Gorky: Goats on the Roof, with never-before-published material, including diary entries and letters from the artist's wife as well as additional contextual documents. Arshile Gorky is increasingly considered an important influence on the development of abstract expressionism. From Gorky's turbulent childhood fleeing the Armenian genocide in Turkey, to his adulthood in the United States, to his suicide in his forties after a traumatic series of physical and emotional setbacks, this biography offers an intimate window into the artist's life, telling his story through many voices: his letters, sent and received; the correspondence of family and friends; pivotal reviews and criticism; newspaper articles and other essential documents. With new design integrating a fuller range of artwork and archival images, the book provides a more comprehensive portrait of Gorky, showing his struggle for recognition, his devotion to his family and his connection to his Armenian heritage. The artist's life story unfolds through his personal letters, the correspondence between friends and family and key contemporary reviews. Arshile Gorky (1904-48) immigrated from Ottoman Armenia to the US in 1920. After five years living under strained conditions with his family in Massachusetts, Gorky moved to New York and became absorbed into the cultural milieu of a city on the brink of modernism. From 1946, Gorky suffered a series of crises: his studio burned down, he underwent an operation for cancer and his wife had an affair with Roberto Matta. Gorky hanged himself in 1948, at the age of 44. He is buried in North Cemetery in Sherman, Connecticut.
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