May Austin Claus
Portrait Miniature of Arshile Gorky, c. 1922
Graphite (pencil) on ivory
5 3/8 x 4 inches (oval)
Signed and inscribed on case backing: May Austin Claus / 410 Boylston St / Boston / Mass / $350.00 / Archile [sic] Sasha / Gorky
Claus was born in 1882. Her death date is unknown.
Set in a period gilt metal frame
May Austin Claus lived both in Provincetown and Boston. She studied at the Boston Museum School and was a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Miniature Painters. Exhibitions include the Boston Art Club (1905-08), Salons of America, Art Institute of Chicago 1905, 1907 and 1909, Society of Independent Artists (1920,1921, 1923), and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1922. May Austin (Claus), was born in Berlin, New York in 1882.
She married William Anton Joseph Claus who was born in Mainz, Germany in 1862. William died in 1926 but the death date for May is unknown. As she was twenty years younger than William, she could have remarried after his death, and so took a new last name.
This work was most likely executed around the time Gorky attended the New School of Design and Illustration, located at 248 Boylston Street in Boston. At that time Claus maintained a studio nearby at 410 Boylston Street.