oil on canvas
25 3/4 x 35 3/4 in.
The art of Arthur Dove blended his abiding love and connection to
nature and natural forces with a deep interest in ideas and philosophies
of modern art and life. While he was influenced early on by French
Post-Impressionists and Fauve
artists such as Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse, Dove developed
his own organic approach to abstractions
from nature. He called his abstract paintings "extractions," because
the compositions were based on the pulsating energy of nature. For
Dove, this approach was a way to extract the underlying essence
of things--rendering the invisible visible.
He was one of the earliest artists in either Western
Europe or the United States to create purely abstract or non-objective
paintings. He has often been compared to Wassily Kandinsky, the
Russian artist whose studies of emotional and spiritual states led
him to create non-objective art about the same time as Arthur Dove.
Dove probably never saw Kandinsky's paintings until the Armory
Show in 1913, several years after his own experiments with non-objective
art. Unlike Kandinsky, however, Dove's paintings were always derived
from the natural world.
Later Dove returned to more representational
art and during the rest of his career, he moved back and forth between
painting abstract and non-objective works. Dove continued his fascination
with the basic organic shapes of plants and animals and their place
in the landscape.
Along with his American modernist peers, including
Marsden Hartley, Alfred Maurer,
and Georgia O'Keeffe, Dove
looked to nature to symbolize the elemental forces of change in
Gale was painted in 1932 in the middle of
the Depression--a time of financial hardship for Dove, who did not
accept the support of government work projects. It was also the
year that his close friend Alfred Maurer committed suicide. Five
years had passed since Dove moved from his home on a houseboat,
but memories of the sea remained strong. In a letter to Alfred Stieglitz,
Dove described a storm he experienced aboard the Mona;
"It is now 3:45 a.m. in the midst of a terrific gale
and we are anchored in the middle of Manhasset Bay...have been
trying to memorize this storm all day so that I can paint it.
Storm green and storm gray. It has been too dark and nerve-strained
Unlike the lyrical, pastoral themes of his other
works, Gale shows a menacing, almost haunted character.
The clouds and sea seem to be transforming into hands, arms and
exhibition (actually titled The International Exhibition of Modern
Art) that was held in the armory in New York from February 17-
March 15, 1913. It subsequently traveled to Boston and Chicago.
The exhibition, which was seen by more than 400,000 people was controversial,
but a major cultural event of its time. The Armory Show included
approximately 1,200 works that introduced the American public to
Post-Impressionist and Cubist art.
new and innovative art or artists that depart from tradition to
experiment with a new style, technique, or subject matter. From
the French word for "vanguard."
French term meaning "a wild beast" used to label a group of early
20th century French artists, led by Henri Matisse, who used bright,
unnatural colors and slashing brush strokes to paint images of contemporary
that is purely an arrangement of line, color, shape, form, or texture
and that does not show any recognizable person, place, or thing.
pertaining to living organisms or something from the natural world.
In art, organic shapes are derived from natural forms.
label given to a diverse group of French artists: Paul Cezanne,
Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat, who were working
in the 1880s and 1890s. These artists shared a dissatisfaction with
Impressionism's tendency to blur shapes and forms with loose brush
strokes, but each explored their own individual approaches to form
and expression in art. The Post-Impressionists are credited for
laying the groundwork for the many modern movements that followed.
an object in nature in recognizable form.
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