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Arshile GORKY (born Vosdanik Adoian, 1904-1948)
The Artist's Wife, "Mougouch"

Pen and ink, 1943, on off-white sketchbook paper, 14 x 9-1/2 in., numbered "35" lower right hand recto.

In September, 1941 Gorky married 20-year-old Agnes Magruder, whom he had met earlier that year and affectionately called "Mougouch," meaning "little mighty." Their first child, daughter Maro, was born in April, 1943. This intimate, seemingly free and spontaneous sketch of Mougouch in her late pregnancy is actually preparatory to the similarly dimensioned highly finished portrait drawing in the Baltimore Museum of Art (inv. no. 63.110). Influences from Picasso's pre-cubist and classical periods may be seen in the strongly outlined, solidly shadowed face (Buste de marin, 1907, Musée national Picasso) and the pose (Woman in White, 1923, Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Exhibited: Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, "Continuity and Change: 45 American Abstract Painters and Sculptors," April-May, 1962, p. 14, no. 27.

probably part of a sketchbook (containing the Baltimore drawing referenced above) traded by the artist to a New Jersey framer in the early 1940's in exchange for frames;
Zabriskie Gallery;
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Schiff;
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, Inc.;
Christie's, Park Avenue, Contemporary Art (Part II), May 4, 1989, lot 104;
private collection.

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