365 Days of Art: July 5 – Gorky is Released from the Hospital; Fears for Painting Career

Arshile Gorky sits on a picnic blanket with his head in his hand.
Arshile Gorky in his traction collar. Photo taken by Wilfredo Lam, July 1948 in Sherman CT

July 5, 1948

Arshile Gorky is released from the hospital following his car accident, wearing a leather and metal collar that leaves his painting arm immobilized.

His wife Agnes (nicknamed Mougouch) later writes:

After the accident, everything was awful as far as Gorky was concerned. Everything just collapsed. When he came home he had to wear his leather collar. He hated it. When he was lying down he’d take it off. His arm was not getting better. He was in misery about the arm.”

He is in extreme discomfort to the point of distress, and is also coping with his colostomy bag. He and his wife continue to argue, and he sleeps in the guest room or on the sofa. But his number-one concern is painting, and he makes attempts to become left-handed in order to resume drawing and painting. According to his friend Peter Blume, Gorky:

…was depressed after the break of his neck for fear that he would not be able to paint… Everybody kept saying, ‘Of course you’re going to paint again.’ But I don’t know if that convinced him.”

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