Bohemian muse and widow of the painter Arshile Gorky, whose work she championed after his suicide
As Arshile Gorky’s wife and muse, and for six decades his widow, Mougouch Magruder Gorky Phillips Fielding nurtured the work and burnished the reputation of the father of Abstract Expressionism and the man Robert Hughes described as “a kind of Bridge of Sighs between Surrealism and America”.
A bright, bold, patrician beauty, she had a genius for friendship, drawing devotees from New York’s postwar Surrealists to the last members of the Bloomsbury Group. The travel writers Patrick Leigh Fermor, Robin Fedden and Bruce Chatwin were among her admirers. When her daughter Antonia married Martin Amis, his friend Christopher Hitchens summed up her provenance as “pure bohemian aristocracy”.
Agnes Magruder was the daughter of the East Coast establishment — Washingtonian John Holmes Magruder II, a US naval attaché (later Commodore), and his Bostonian wife, Ester Hosmer. She