Abstract painter Arshile Gorky, born today in 1904, was largely self-taught. The title of this painting, Diary of a Seducer is a phrase that Gorky took from Soren Kierkegaard, the existential philosopher.
Stuart Davis made American Painting in 1932 for the Whitney’s first annual painting survey exhibition (the series of shows that went on to become the Biennials). The work pays homage to Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, and John Graham, along with Duke Ellington. Davis altered the painting in 1942 and 1954, adding color and a number of other elements.
Happy Birthday to #ArshileGorky, born #OTD 1904. Gorky often combined sensual drawing and color applied in either rich, opaque layers or thin, transparent washes. “Soft Night” (1947) is distinguished by sinuous lines, a thin layer of paint with bright color accents, and the biomorphic, bonelike forms that were his personal symbol and motif. Many of Gorky’s paintings from the 1940s are vibrantly colored; “Soft Night” is rare in its use of velvety grays which, like its title, create a sense of mystery and melancholy.