arshille gorky

Crossing Borders: Immigration and American Culture

As part of our Citizens and Borders initiative, we have launched a digital exhibition of works from MoMA’s collection by artists who immigrated to the U.S., often as refugees in search of safe haven. The works were chosen by staff across the Museum, and represent a range of mediums—painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, film, design, and architecture—and a span of nearly 100 years.

We’ll be posting a selection of those works here over the next week, but you can explore all the works at

[Arshile Gorky. Garden in Sochi. c. 1943. Oil on canvas. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2017 Estate of Arshile Gorky/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]

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. 

[Arshile Gorky. Diary of a Seducer. 1945]

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.