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Arshile Gorky (Armenian-American 1904--1948) was sort of a bridge between the art of Europe and of America. Born in Armenia, he came to the United States in 1920. He and de Kooning, an immigrant in 1926, and Hans Burkhardt, the Swiss-American who shared Gorky's studio in the 30s, became friends, suffering through the lean times of the Depression and the early 1940's--unknown.
Under the WPA, De Kooning and Gorky painted murals in public buildings; this kept the artists going, and offered the opportunity to meet one another, to form bonds, and share artistic and moral support.
Gorky was influenced by the painterly abstraction of Kandinsky, who wrote that “painting, like music, should not be a description of the external world, but rather contain its own reality, which comes from the 'inner necessity' of the artist - the inner artistic vision.”
Abstract Expressionists Pollock, de Kooning, Kline, Rothko, Still, Newman, Guston, and others were influenced by Gorky in their thinking and manner of painting, in varying degrees (de Kooning probably the most).
At the New Jersey Airport, Man's Conquest of the Air, a mural was eventually demolished--only sketches such as the present example remain. This drawing is related to Gorky’s signature biomorphism and abstraction.