The artist’s grief that he could not touch his mother

 

 

 

This self-portrait of Arshile Gorky, (1904-1948, Armenian-American) and his mother hangs in the Whitney Museum of North American 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

 

 

 

The eyes of the artist do not look at us .

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