Philadelphia Museum of Art, opens Oct. 21
Even by the standards of the Abstract Expressionist painters, who had a thing for anguish, the life of Arshile Gorky stands out for its oversupply of pain. He entered the U.S. in 1920 as a teenage refugee from the Armenian genocide. Just 28 years later, suffering from cancer and depressed after a series of setbacks his wife left him, his painting arm was paralyzed in a car accident and a studio fire consumed dozens of his canvases he took his life. All the same, that life was a triumph. The voluptuous works of Gorky's last years, all those plump sexual swellings and cloudbursts of bright color, are among the glories of American art. The Philadelphia retrospective, his first in almost 30 years, will trace the full arc of his profound struggle to find himself.