Touch

 

This self-portrait of Arshile Gorky and his mother hangs in the Whitney Museum of Art, New York and is based on the photograph shown of the artist at 12 years.

 

The Artist and His Mother, oil on board, c. 1926-1932.  Whitney Museum of (North) American Art

 

 

 

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The artist paints his own hands mittened.  And his mother’s. 

This has been interpreted as a reference to their loss of each other. His mother starved to death in 1919 in the genocide of the Armenian people.

 

Another portrait hangs in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C

 

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The Artist and His Mother, c. 1926-1942, oil on board.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

 

I have seen  nothing said of the artist’s rendering of his mother’s lap in both paintings.

But who could forget the enveloping touch, holding,  world against the world of a mother’s lap of every loved child. 

The eyes of the artist no longer look at us in his paintings.

 

 

 

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Tear Sac, 1963, oil on canvas.   Georg Baselitz, German born 1938. Loaned by the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden Baden to the Hirshorn, Washington, DC in 2018.