The Arshile Gorky Foundation sent a work by the early Abstract Expressionist out for routine conservation, the single work came back as two after conservators discovered a painting hidden behind a later work on paper, Artnet News reported.
“This discovery is the sort of moment that drew so many of us to art in the first place—the wonder and surprise, the invitation to think beyond what we already know, hints of new horizons,” Marc Payot, president of Hauser and Wirth, which will debut the work in a non-selling exhibition in New York next month, told Artnet News.
The painting, which has been dubbed Untitled (Virginia Summer), is being added to a new Gorky catalogue raisonné, due out this month from the artist’s foundation.
When Gorky finished the painting on paper, The Limit (1947), he was in quite a prolific period, making a new work every day. As a result, it appears he was short on materials, and, lacking a stretched canvas to work on, simply placed it atop the earlier work now identified as Untitled (Virginia Summer).
It’s quite possible that this isn’t the only painting the artist obscured this way. “Curators of museums: It’s not a bad idea to take it out of the basement or off the wall, look behind, and see if you’ve got two paintings instead of one,” Matthew Spender, the artist’s son-in-law and author of From a High Place: A Life of Arshile Gorky, told The New York Times.
Arshile Gorky (Vostanik Manoug Adoian) was a U.S. – Armenian painter. Gorky has been hailed as one of the most powerful American painters of the 20th century. The suffering and loss he experienced in the Armenian genocide had crucial influence at Gorky’s development as an artist.
Gorky was born in the village of Khorgom (today’s Dilkaya), situated on the shores of Lake Van in the Ottoman Empire in 1904. Gorky escaped the Armenian Genocide and arrived in the USA in 1920, where he lived until committing suicide in 1948.