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Black Angel: A Life of Arshile Gorky Hardcover – 3 Dec 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (3 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701153636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701153632
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

On 20 July 1948 the Armenian-American artist Arshile Gorky hanged himself in a shed in the grounds of his home in Connecticut. His last act, before he kicked away the crate that he was standing on, was to write: "Goodbye my loveds" with a broken piece of chalk. Gorky had been plagued in recent years by colonic cancer and severe injuries from a car accident. He had discovered his wife's infidelity. Despair had overtaken the creative ferocity of this man, whose Abstract Impressionist paintings influenced Rothko, Pollock, and de Kooning. Darkly brooding and passionate, with an assumed identity as the first cousin of Russian writer Maxim Gorky, the legends surrounding Arshile Gorky's life and suicide have threatened to obscure the man himself.

Black Angel: a Life of Arshile Gorky, Nouritza Matossian's impeccably researched, intensely romantic biography of the artist who was called "a Hollywood Rasputin", begins with his roots in Armenia as a survivor of the Turkish genocide of his people in 1915. Gorky's subsequent migration to the United States at the age of 17, and the profound effect his early years had on his brooding, often violent paintings (such as the 1945 work Diary of a Seducer) is examined closely, as is his turbulent life of liaisons, illness and involvement in the brilliant New York art scene of the 1930s and 1940s. Gorky's work embraced aspects of Social Realism and Surrealism but he could never fully be claimed by either movement.

Matossian, herself an Armenian by birth, captures the elusive, haunting spirit of Gorky in this vivid portrait, tirelessly searching for the human being behind the accepted image of the mysterious refugee artist.


"A profoundly moving, illuminating biography...with an almost novelistic intensity." -"Independent""From the Trade Paperback edition."

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14 October 1999
Format: Hardcover
5 people found this helpful
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13 February 1999
Format: Hardcover
One person found this helpful
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13 February 1999
Format: Hardcover
13 February 1999
Format: Hardcover
2 people found this helpful
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13 February 1999
Format: Hardcover

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