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Aaron Harry Gorson (American, 1872-1933)

Paintings

Also known as:  Gorson, A. H.; Gorson, Aaron; Gorson, Aaron Henry

Birth Place: Soviet Union (Asia)

Biography:
Lithuanian-born Aaron Gorson became sought after during the 1910s for his atmospheric paintings of the iron and steel mills of Pittsburgh. Using a principal palette of blue-grays, he depicted the prominent mills along the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers, in particular the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company, his favorite industrial subject. Rather than detailing the arduous and dirty manufacturing process in his paintings, Gorson focused, instead, on the aesthetics of the industrial landscape. Indeed, influenced by his training with James McNeill Whistler in Paris, Gorson saw nothing but beauty in this city of smoke and cinders. From Whistler, Gorson adopted a tonal palette; loose brushwork; and an interest in fleeting atmospheric conditions, such as rain and fog at twilight or dusk. Like Whistler, he also titled his paintings after musical forms, for example, Pittsburgh Nocturne. Gorson's multiple paintings of a certain factory at different times of day and under different weather conditions also recalled the avant-garde techniques of Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne.

Given Gorson's romanticized view of Pittsburgh's industry, it is not surprising that his most enthusiastic patrons were the city's leaders and manufacturing executives, such as Judge Thomas P. Trimble, the steel magnate James B. Laughlin, and the president of United States Steel, Judge Elbert Henry Gary.

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