Ca' Pesaro

Ca' Pesaro

Exhibition | ARSHILE GORKY 1904 – 1948


MUVE Contemporaneo

Arshile Gorky
1904 – 1948

9 May – 22 September 2019
Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice

At Ca’ Pesaro- International Gallery of Modern Art a major exhibition of the work of Arshile Gorky, the first exhibition in Italy of this celebrated and influential figure of 20th Century American Art.

Presented as a comprehensive retrospective survey, this exhibition will examine the stages of Gorky’s remarkable career from his earliest works during the 1920s, where his interrogation of Cézanne’s compositions permeated his approach to painting, through to the culmination of his autodidactic study of modern masters and movements, to the point where the elements from these various stimuli explicitly coalesced into Gorky’s singular and powerful vision.

Arshile Gorky 1904-1948 will seek to highlight that Gorky’s artistic voice is present from the earliest stages of his career, when he was seemingly in thrall to the work of past masters, and strengthened as his work progressed.

The exhibition is bringing 80 emblematic works of art together borrowed from significant international institutions and private collections: among the lenders, the Tate London, the National Gallery of Art of Washington, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, the Centre Pompidou of Paris, the Israel Museum of Jerusalem. The exhibition will include 80 works.

Una rassegna che mostra con quale forza l’energia pittorica e l’immaginazione di Gorky si uniscano ad un rinnovato incontro con la natura, nei paesaggi della Virginia e del Connecticut, durante le estati del 1942-45. Una selezione di questi capolavori maturi, con la loro gamma di surreale, di astratto, di figurativo, rivela un artista al culmine del suo straordinario potere creativo.
La qualità inimitabile delle ultime opere fu riconosciuta dal poeta surrealista André Breton che, nella prefazione al catalogo di una mostra di Gorky del 1945, la descrisse come un “ibrido”, riconoscendo la complessità con cui Gorky evocava il mondo naturale, unendolo a una moltitudine di memorie personali e influenze diverse.

The final section of the exhibition will illustrate the extent to which Gorky’s pictorial energy and imagination merged with his renewed encounter with nature in the landscapes of Virginia and Connecticut over the summers of 1942-1945. A strong selection of these mature masterworks, with their array of surreal, abstract, and figurative, reveal an artist at the very height of his extraordinary creative power.
The inimitable quality of the late work was recognised by Surrealist poet André Breton who, in a catalogue preface for an exhibition of Gorky’s work in 1945, described it as a ‘hybrid’, thereby acknowledging the complexity of Gorky’s evocation of the natural world united with a myriad of personal memories and differing influences.

In addition to paintings, the exhibition will include a selection of Gorky’s works on paper, which demonstrate his remarkable draughtsmanship.


Curated by Gabriella Belli and Edith Devaney

In collaboration with The Arshile Gorky Foundation


Video directed by Cosima Spender
Edited by Valerio Bonelli
© Peacock Pictures 2019