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Harry Rand

[Adoian, Vosdanig Manoog]

(b Dzov, Turkish Armenia, April 15, 1904; d Sherman, CT, July 21, 1948).

American painter of Armenian birth. One of the most illustrious artists of the post-war New York School, he began his life in possibly the most obscure circumstances of any international modern master. His father emigrated to the USA to avoid conscription into the Turkish Army in World War I; in the Turkish persecution of the Armenians, Gorky’s mother died in her son’s arms after a 120-mile march. With his sister (who later figured prominently in his paintings) Gorky made his way to the coast and then, by ship, to the USA, arriving at New York in April 1920.

Gorky settled into a community of Armenians in New England and attempted a reconciliation with his father, but when that failed he moved from Massachusetts to New York City (c. 1925). There he assumed his pseudonym, claiming to be a cousin of the Russian writer, Maksim Gor’ky whose name, however, was a ...

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Ronald Alley

(b Montreal, bapt Oct 7, 1923; d Île-aux-Grues, Quebec City, Mar 13, 2002).

Canadian painter and sculptor. From an early age he drew extensively and painted landscapes from nature. From 1939 to 1941 he studied at Montreal Polytechnic while also taking a correspondence course in architecture. He temporarily abandoned painting in 1941, but from 1943 to 1945 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal and at the Ecole du Meuble, where he spent most of his time. He and like-minded painters, later known as Automatistes, Les, met regularly in the studio of Paul-Emile Borduas, one of the teachers at the Ecole du Meuble, to discuss their ideas and in particular their interest from c. 1945 in abstract art, Surrealism and automatic techniques.

Riopelle first visited Paris in 1946, and in 1947 he decided to settle there. He was included by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp in the last major group show of the Surrealist movement at the Galerie Maeght in 1947...