365 Days of Art: June 17 – Gorky’s Wife Has an Affair

Arshile Gorky, The Liver is the Cock's Comb, 1944

June 17, 1948

The morning after overhearing an unflattering conversation between Gorky and his dealer about the role of an artist’s wife, Gorky’s wife arranges for a babysitter for their children and leaves home for two days, during which time she has an affair with the artist Matta.

Agnes (nicknamed Mougouch) wrote later:

After I left I rang up Matta. It was perhaps the worst thing I ever did, but I did it. The affair with Matta ruined my life in one zip. But if I’d stayed, Gorky’s violence would probably have driven me away anyhow, as he got worse and worse.

I got into my car and drove down to the village. I rang up Matta and said: “Do you really want to meet me somewhere? I’m going to be on the Saw Mill River Parkway at such and such a mileage.” And he was there. I went away with Matta for two days and came back and felt completely reborn…”

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