Arthur Dove: Wikis


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Arthur Garfield Dove
Arthur Dove, Nature Symbolized, (1911)
Born August 2, 1880(1880-08-02)
Canandaigua, New York
Died November 23, 1946 (aged 66)
Nationality American
Field Modernism, Abstract art

Arthur Garfield Dove (August 2, 1880 – November 23, 1946) was an American artist. An early American modernist, he was one of America's first abstract painters.



Dove was born to a wealthy family in Canandaigua, New York. His parents, William George and Anna Elizabeth, were of English ancestry. William Dove was interested in politics and named Arthur Garfield, after the soon-to-be-elected Republican Vice President, Chester Arthur and Presidential candidate James Garfield of the 1880 election.[1][2] Arthur Dove grew up loving the outdoors on a farm; however, his father was a very successful businessman who owned a brickyard (along with city real estate) and expected his son to become wealthy.[3] Dove's childhood interests included playing the piano, painting lessons, and being a pitcher on a high school baseball team.[3] As a child, he was befriended by a neighbor named Newton Weatherby. Weatherby was a naturalist who helped form Dove’s appreciation of nature. He was also an amateur painter who gave Dove pieces of leftover canvas to work with.


Dove attended Cornell University, where he was chosen to illustrate the Cornell University yearbook. Dove's illustrations proved popular because they brought life to the characters and situations they depicted.[3] After graduation, he became a well known commercial illustrator in New York City. At 23 years old, this well-educated young man had left small town life to live in the largest city in the country.[3] Dove's choice to forgo the life of material advantages (following a degree from an Ivy League school) to become an artist upset his parents to the point that they never showed him any sympathy toward the disadvantages of choosing a career in art.[4]

In 1907, Dove and his first wife traveled to France. They moved to Paris, the capital of art.[4] They made short trips to both Italy and Spain.[1] While there he joined a group of experimental artists from the United States. One of theses artists was Alfred Henry Maurer. Dove and Maurer remained friends until Maurer’s suicide in 1932. While in Europe, Dove was introduced to new painting styles, in particular the Fauve works of Henri Matisse, and he exhibited at the annual Autumn Salon in 1908 and 1909. Feeling a clearer sense as an artist, he returned to New York.[1] His return to the commercialism of illustration dissatisfied him so Dove moved out of New York to make a living off farming and fishing while devoting his time to his career as a painter.[1] His son William C. Dove was born on July 4, 1909.[2] It is believed that Maurer wrote to Stieglitz to introduce Dove.[1]

New York

When Dove returned to America in 1909 he met Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz, the eldest child of a wealthy New York family, had been sent to study in Germany at the age of 16 where he discovered his passion for photography.[1] In 1905 he returned to New York with 15 years of experience and was at the forefront of the movement to make photography respected as one of the fine arts.[1] Alfred Stieglitz was a well known photographer and gallery owner who was very active in promoting modern art in America. In his attempt to educate the art public, he began to introduce other art besides photography.[1] In addition to American modernists he exhibited works by European artists.[1] These pieces had never been seen in the United States.[1] Stieglitz was a New York art world celebrity.[1] Dove made the decision to quit his career as an illustrator but was in need of artistic identity along with emotional bolstering and Stieglitz filled both these roles.[5] The photographer was 16 years older than Dove and his urban, Jewish and European cultural roots were in contrast to Dove's rural Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage. Dove was gentle, quiet, and a good friend while Stieglitz was argumentative and shrewd.[1] They found their common ground in the idea that art forms should embody modern spiritual values not materialism and tradition.[4] Stieglitz later married the renowned painter Georgia O’Keeffe. With Stiegliz’s support, Dove produced what are known as the first purely abstract paintings to come out of America. Dove exhibited his works at Stieglitz’s “291” gallery in 1910 and again in 1912 when he had his first one-man exhibition. The 1910 show “Younger American Painters” put Dove in the company of his old friend Maurer.[1] Dove showed one painting, a large still life painted in France entitled “The Lobster”, which would be his last representational work.[1] The 1912 show at the “291”, Dove's only one-man show, contained a group of pastels that came to be know as “Ten Commandments” and was the first public exhibition of abstract art by an American.[1] In the two years after meeting Stieglitz, Dove became a leader in international art developments.[1] From 1912 to 1946 Dove showed his work annually at Stieglitz’s galleries, “291”, “Intimate Gallery” and “An American Place.”[1] Dove’s works were based on natural forms and he referred to his type of abstraction as “extraction” where, in essence, he extracted the essential forms of a scene from nature.

Career and Exhibitions

Dove used a wide range of media, sometimes in unconventional combinations. Dove did a series of experimental collage works in the 1920s. He also experimented with techniques, combining paints like hand mixed oil or tempera over a wax emulsion. The pigments from the paint then bond to the wax molecules. Dove produced a group of collages and assemblages because it was cheaper than paint and lack of work space.[1] Phillips tells Dove to abandon collage and return to paint.[3] In 1937 Phillips purchased “Goin Fishin” for $2,000.00, the largest sum paid to that date for any of Doves work.[1] Phillips also purchased “Huntington Harbor 1.”[6] Dove produced about twenty-five assemblages between 1924 and 1930.[2]

After the war

In spite of support from various members of the art community, it was often necessary for Dove to earn money through farming, fishing and commercial illustration. Dove’s most consistent supporter was Duncan Phillips, founder of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., which now holds the majority of Dove’s work. Philips was in his forties, a Yale graduate.[3] Dove’s work convinced Philips that abstract was an artistic process, not just an art style.[6] Stieglitz’s gallery was first visited by Phillips because of Dove, and he returned because of Dove.[6] In exchange for first choice of paintings from each exhibition, Phillips paid Dove a commission of $50.00 a month.[5] Dove met Phillips only once in his lifetime in 1936.[1]


He spent a seven-year period on a houseboat called Mona with Helen Torr, known as "Reds" for the color of her hair. Although the psychological consequences benefited Dove’s art, his life with Reds was difficult. Helen Torr was also a painter (who since her death in 1967 has received much attention). Helen Torr studied at the Drexel Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and had been married to Cleve Weed, a political cartoonist.[1] Florence Dove never cared about Dove's passion for art, she was more socially inclined, and after 25 years of marriage he left her.[1] Florence would not grant him a divorce and flatly refused to let him see his son.[1] When he left, he left behind everything except his copies of Camera Works and Stieglitz’s letters.[1] When Dove’s wife Florence died unexpectedly, he paid $250.00 for the funeral expenses and sent flowers but did not go to the funeral in Geneva.[1] Although distressed about her death, he now could see his son and marry Reds. For the first time in eight years Dove met with his then nineteen-year-old son, Bill. Bill was also an artist so the two had a lot in common and reestablished a friendship and later in life became a help to Dove with making a technique for silvering frames. As far as marrying Reds it took three years to do that because Reds had never filed for a divorce from her 1st husband. Doves and Reds were married April 1932 in the New York City Hall with a brief service and a ten-cent store ring.[1] Dove identified himself as a frame maker on his marriage registry. The 1933 exhibition was the only time Stieglitz allowed Red and Dove to exhibit together.[2] “Seven Americans” brought Dove back into the coverage of major newspapers and art magazines and back into the public eye.[1]

Great Depression

Dove suffered a heart attack in 1939. His health never fully recovered. By 1942, Dove and Reds felt financially secure enough to buy a Stieglitz photograph but Stieglitz turned over their check to the gallery and sent them two specially framed prints of geometric paintings from the forties that are characterized by a dominant center meaning that the pictorial incident is in the center and fades out to the edges.[1] In 1946 Dove had his last show with nine new paintings and made his final visit to the gallery and saw Stieglitz’s for the last time. In July of that year the Doves took a cab to see the birth of their first grandchild Toni, Bill’s only child. A little more than a month after the show closed in July, Stieglitz died of heart failure. Badly shaken from his friend’s death, Dove lived for only four more months.[1] Although he became partially paralyzed by a stroke, he continued with Reds help by guiding the brush as he painted until he collapsed and died at Huntington Hospital.[1] Arthur Dove died on November 23, 1946 following a second heart attack and kidney failure. In October,just before his death, Dove wrote to Phillips for the last time:

You have no idea what sending on those checks to me at this time. After fighting for an idea all your life I realize that your backing has saved it for me and meant to thank you with all my heart and soul for what you have done. It has been marvelous. So many letters have been written and not mailed and owing to having been in bed a great deal of time this summer, the paintings were about all I could muster up enough energy to do what I considered the best of my ability. Just before Stieglitz’s death I took some paintings to him that I considered as having something new in the. He immediately walked right up to them and spoke of the new ideas. His intuition in that way was remarkable and I am so glad to have been allowed to live during his and your lifetimes. It has been a great privilege for which I am truly thankful.

Arthur Dove’s granddaughter is the interactive artist Toni Dove.

Arthur Dove's Cottage

Arthur Dove-Helen Torr Cottage
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Arthur Dove is located in New York
Location: 30 Centershore Rd., Centerport, New York
Coordinates: 40°53′16″N 73°22′21″W / 40.88778°N 73.3725°W / 40.88778; -73.3725Coordinates: 40°53′16″N 73°22′21″W / 40.88778°N 73.3725°W / 40.88778; -73.3725
Area: 0.9 acres (0.36 ha)
Built/Founded: 1938
Architectural style(s): Late Victorian
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: January 28, 2000
NRHP Reference#: 99001682[7]

In July 1924 when Arthur Dove and Helen Torr sailed into Huntington Harbor aboard their 42-foot yawl, Mona, they could not have anticipated the extent to which Long Island’s North Shore would inspire some of their greatest paintings.

They lived in Halesite until the Great Depression when both Dove and Torr moved back to the Dove's estate located in Geneva, NY. Longing to be back on Long Island, in 1938 they moved back into their first home, a former post office and general store on Center Shore Road in Centerport, New York. They purchased the house for $980.00. Their tiny, one-room cottage stood on the edge of the Titus Mill Pond. Almost immediately, Dove was found to have pneumonia; he eventually suffered from a heart attack and was diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disorder. In terrible health for the remainder of his days, he lived quietly, finally about to devote himself entirely to painting, and focusing on the inspiration of his surroundings and his home. Some of the most powerful paintings of his career, including Indian Summer, were painted in Centerport. Red remained in the house on the millpond but never painted again but after her death in 1967, both Red and Dove had their work hung together in the The Museum of Modern Art in 1979.[4][8]

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.[7]

Selected works

Selected list of works

  • 1910 Abstraction No. 1 - 6
  • 1911 Movement No. 1
  • 1911 Nature Symbolized
  • ca. 1911 Nature Symbolized, No. 2
  • 1911 - 2 Sails
  • ca. 1912 Plant Forms
  • ca. 1912 - 3 A Walk: Poplars
  • 1915 Plant Form
  • 1917 - 20 Gear
  • 1917 - 20 Thunderstorm
  • 1920 Dark Abstraction (Woods)
  • ca. 1921 Thunderstorm
  • 1923 Moon and Sea II
  • 1923 Chinese Music
  • 1924 Sunrise
  • 1924 "Huntington Harbor"
  • 1924 Starry Heavens
  • 1924 Nature Symbolized or Reefs
  • 1925 The Intellectual
  • 1925 Goin’ Fishin’
  • 1925 The Critic
  • 1926 Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz
  • 1927 George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue Part 1
  • 1928 "Snow and Water"
  • 1928 Composition
  • 1928 Sea Gull Motive (also known as Sea Thunder or The Wave)
  • 1929 "Alfie’s Delight"
  • 1929 "Silver Sun"
  • 1929 Foghorns
  • 1929 Wind (number 1)
  • 1929 Harbor in Light
  • 1929 Moth Dance
  • 1930 - ? Brick Barge with Landscape
  • 1931 Ice and Clouds
  • 1931 Fields of Grain as Seen from Train
  • 1931 Ferry Boat Wreck
  • 1931 Pine Tree
  • 1931 Two Forms
  • 1931 Abstract from Threshing Engine
  • 1931 Steam Boat - Northport
  • 1932 Gale
  • 1932 Dawn III
  • 1932 Sunday
  • ca. 1933 Sun Drawing Water
  • 1934 Trees
  • 1934 Trees II
  • 1934 Brickyard Shed
  • 1934 - ? Sowing Wheat
  • 1935 "Moon"
  • 1935 "Corn Crib"
  • 1935 Red Sun
  • 1935 " Cow #1"
  • 1935 Snowstorm
  • 1935 Barns
  • 1935 Tree I
  • 1936 Windy Morning
  • 1937 Me and the Moon
  • 1937 Happy Landscape
  • 1937 - ? Water Swirl, Canandaigua Outlet
  • 1938 "City Moon"
  • 1938 Shore Front
  • 1938 Tanks
  • 1938 Holbrook’s Bridge to the Northwest
  • 1938 Swing Music (Louis Armstrong)
  • 1939 Continuity
  • 1940 Abstract Still Life
  • 1940 Syosset
  • 1940 Black and White
  • 1941 Our House
  • 1941 Pyramid Formation
  • 1941 The Brothers #1 Honolulu Academy of Arts
  • 1941 Landscape
  • 1942 The Brothers
  • 1943 Space Divided by Line Motive (U.S.A.)
  • 1943 Sun
  • 1943 Sand and Sea
  • 1936 - 44 Fire the Sauerkraut Factory, West X, New York
  • 1944 That Red One
  • 1944 High Noon
  • 1945 Figure 4
  • ca. 1946 Untitled (Abstraction)

List Of Exhibitions

  • 1940-1946 Untitled from Sketchbook “E” Arkansas Arts Center American
  • 1941 "Across the Road" oil on canvas Des Monies Art Center American
  • 1941 "Centerport Series #16" watercolor and gouac Hirshhorn Museum American
  • 1941 " Indian Summer" oil on canvas Heckscher Museum of Art
  • 1943 "Space Divided" by Line Motive oil on canvas Corcoran Gallery of Art American


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Morgan, Ann Lee'' ARTHUR DOVE Life and Work with a Catalogue Raisonne’ (1984 Associated University Presses)
  2. ^ a b c d Haskell, Barbara ARTHUR DOVE (1974 San Francisco Museum of Art)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Newman, Sasha M. ARTHUR DOVE AND DUNCAN PHILLIPS: Artist and Patron (1981 The Phillips Collection)
  4. ^ a b c d Depietro, Anne Cohen ARTHUR DOVE AND HELEN TORR (1989 Heckscher Museum)
  5. ^ a b Balken, Debra Bricker ARTHUR DOVE: A Retrospective(1997 MIT Press)
  6. ^ a b c Turner, Elizabeth Hutton IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz(1995 Counterpoint).
  7. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  8. ^ James Warren (undated). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Arthur Dove-Helen Torr Cottage". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-02-20.  See also: "Accompanying eight photos". 


  • Raynor, Vivien (1983-10-16). "Out of History's Mists Comes Arthur Dove". Retrieved 2006-06-03. 
  • Balken, Debra Bricker ARTHUR DOVE: A Retrospective (1997 MIT Press)
  • Depietro, Anne Cohen ARTHUR DOVE AND HELEN TORR (1989 Heckscher Museum)
  • Harnsberger, R. Scott FOUR ARTISTS OF THE STIEGLITZ CIRCLE: A Sourcebook on Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and Max Weber (2002 Greenwood Press)
  • Haskell, Barbara ARTHUR DOVE (1974 San Francisco Museum of Art)
  • Morgan, Ann Lee ARTHUR DOVE Life and Work with a Catalogue Raisonne’ (1984 Associated University Presses)
  • Newman, Sasha M. ARTHUR DOVE AND DUNCAN PHILLIPS: Artist and Patron (1981 The Phillips Collection)
  • Turner, Elizabeth Hutton IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz (1995 Counterpoint)

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Arthur Garfield Dove (August 2, 1880November 23, 1946) was an American artist. He was one of America's first abstract painters.


  • I should like to take the wind and water and sand as a motif and work with them, but it has to be simplified in most cases to colour and force lines, just as music has done with sound.
  • You get to the point where you can feel a certain sensation of light.
  • There's no such thing as abstraction, it is extraction, gravitation and minding your own business.

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