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Inner Worlds

Art and Artists  Arthur Dove
 Richard Hunt
 Judy Onofrio
 Betye Saar
 Kay Sage
 Yves Tanguy
 Jane Tuckerman

What is Art? Environment Identity Designing Spaces and Places
Arthur Dove
About the Artist

Arthur Garfield Dove was born into a wealthy family near Geneva, New York in 1880. Dove demonstrated a self-reliant and independent spirit from his childhood that led him to become one of America's leading avant-garde artists in the beginning of the 20th century.

Dove said, Newton Weatherby, a neighbor, was his most important childhood influence. Weatherby was a naturalist who took Dove along on hunting, fishing, and camping excursions. He also was an amateur painter who gave Dove leftover scraps of canvas. Weatherby encouraged Dove to love the natural world.

While in college, Dove became known for his humorous sketching style and was chosen to be an illustrator for the Cornell University yearbook. After graduation, he became a popular commercial illustrator in New York, but he soon chose to concentrate on painting. In 1907, like many American artists during this period, Dove and his wife traveled to France, the center of the art world. Here he joined a group of experimental American artists. Along with painter Alfred Maurer, who became his best friend, Dove came to know modern artists and explored avant-garde styles of art.

Upon returning to the United States 18 months later, Dove met Alfred Stiegltiz, the well-known photographer, gallery owner, and champion for modern art in America. Stieglitz included Dove in an exhibition in March 1910, titled "Young American Painters." Although Stieglitz and Dove had very different backgrounds and personalities, they remained friends. Stieglitz and his wife, Georgia O'Keeffe, were important influences on Dove's career.

Despite support from Stieglitz and later from Duncan Philips, a wealthy art collector, the following years were difficult for Dove. However, it was during this period that he painted some of his most well-known and advanced works. He turned to farming to support his family while he continued to paint, and in so doing he stayed close to nature, the source of much of his art. In 1920, Dove separated from his wife and lived on a houseboat named Mona for the next seven years. Dove loved living on the water and found support and understanding of his work from Helen Torr, whom he married in 1929. In 1939 he suffered a heart attack. Although he slowly recovered, his health never totally returned. He continued to paint despite his poor health. Following a second heart attack and kidney problems, Dove died on November 22, 1946.

Vocabulary Terms

avant-garde--Describes 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."

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