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.
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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