Water of the Flowery Mill is part of a group of landscape-inspired works that Gorky produced during the last six years of his life. Based on his study of an old mill and bridge on the Housatonic River in Connecticut, it also evokes the artist’s nostalgia for Armenia, from which he and his family had fled some twenty years earlier. Influenced by Surrealism, Gorky’s fluid, biomorphic abstraction translates the landscape into flat, overlapping fields of color and seems to anticipate the gestural brushwork of Abstract Expressionism, a movement that emerged in the 1950s.
Inscription: Signed and dated (upper left): A. Gorky/ 44
[Julien Levy Gallery, New York, 1944–at least 1951; acquired from the artist]; [Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, by 1953–56; sold to MMA]
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Fourteen Americans," September 10–December 8, 1946, no. 32 (lent by Julien Levy Gallery).
Poughkeepsie, N. Y. Vassar College. "Fourteen Americans," January 5–26, 1947, no. 32.
Palm Beach, Fla. Society of the Four Arts. "Fourteen Americans," February 7–March 7, 1947, no. 32.
Cincinnati Modern Art School. "Fourteen Americans," March 20–April 17, 1947, no. 32.
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Fourteen Americans," May 1–June 1, 1947, no. 32.
Baton Rouge. Louisiana State University Museum of Art. "Fourteen Americans," June 15–30, 1947, no. 32.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Arshile Gorky Memorial Exhibition," January 5–February 18, 1951, no. 36 (lent by Mr. Julien Levy).
Minneapolis. Walker Art Center. "Arshile Gorky Memorial Exhibition," March 4–April 22, 1951, no. 36.
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Arshile Gorky Memorial Exhibition," May 9–July 9, 1951, no. 36.
New York. Sidney Janis Gallery. "Arshile Gorky in the Final Years," February 16–March 14, 1953, no. 3.
Moscow. Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre. "American Painting and Sculpture. American National Exhibition," July 25–September 5, 1959, no. 25.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Painting and Sculpture from the American National Exhibition in Moscow," October 28–November 15, 1959, unnum. cat. (p. 10).