Arshile Gorky’s remains to be reburied in Armenia


May 19 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 19, ARMENPRESS: Badal Badalian, the chairman of a
Yerevan-based Arshile Gorky Foundation, told Armenpress today that one
of the biggest dreams of the artist was “to return home and mix with
Armenian soil.” He said to this effect the Foundation will organize
a range of fund-raising events and get the permission to transport
his remains to Armenia.

One of the most famous contemporary artists, the founder of Abstract
Surrealism, Gorky was described by Andre Breton as the most important
painter in American history. He was born in Western Armenia, in
the village of Khorgom on the banks of Lake Van. In 1915, Gorky
(Vostanik Adoyan) escaped Turkish massacres with thousands of others
refugees. After his mother died of famine, he headed for the US. His
whole life in the new country, which ended in suicide, consisted of
years of hard work and bitter struggle.

Tragically enough, the years in which his art was ascending to its
greatest heights were also the darkest in his life. His marriage was
disintegrating; he was operated on for colon cancer, and he lost many
works in a studio fire.

Badalian said his opinion is that the remains, if brought to Armenia,
must be reburied at Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, erected in a hill in
Yerevan in commemoration of the victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide,
but added that the final word belongs to the government.

He said on July 21, the day when Gorky committed suicide, a pilgrimage
will be organized to his native village of Khorgom in Turkey, apart
from a poster campaign across Armenia to make Gorky’s name familiar
to all Armenians. One of Gorky’s paintings was sold last year at
$3.5 million.