Stone-Cross from Arshille Gorky’s home brought to Yerevan

July 29 2004


YEREVAN, JULY 29, ARMENPRESS: Badal Badalian, the chairman of a
Yerevan-based Arshile Gorky Foundation, showed reporters today a
khachkar (cross-stone) which he said he brought from the village of
Khorgom on the banks of Lake Van in Turkey, the native village of
Arshile Gorky, one of the most famous contemporary artists of the USA
and the founder of Abstract Surrealism.
Badalian said he and another Armenian painter were traveling
across Western Armenia, now in Turkey and visited Gorky’s village,
now populated, as he said, by ethnic Armenians, assimilated by local
Yezidis and were drinking water from a spring in the yard of Gorky’s
home when a stone on the earth caught their sight. A closer look
revealed it was a khachkar.
Yezidis allowed Armenians to take the khachkar, weighing some 100
kg, to Armenia. Badalian said today the cross on the stone might have
been carved by Gorky himself when he was 10 or 11.
Arshile Gorky, described by Andre Breton as the most important
painter in American history, was born in Western Armenia, in. 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.