Arthur Dove 1880 —1946


‘Kandinsky - Dove - Gorky - Pollock. Dove's work is beholden to Europe
yet it is very American thru his relation to nature.
Considering Dove v. O'Keefe, he was the masculine principal and she was the feminine....
Regarding the American School that followed: Dove has none of the grandiosity of the painters of the American School that followed. A Dove v. Pollock: match-up, is the difference between home movies and the Titanic...'
Notes from talk 03/02/98 at Whitney Trustees meeting.

Born in Canandaigua, upstate New York, Arthur Dove is credited as being the first innovative abstract painter in America. Many of his abstractions showed obvious Oriental influence and were derived from landscape and organic subjects with color used freely and calligraphic line emphasizing energy or force. Generally his method was to make watercolor sketches outdoors and later oil paintings in his studio.

He also made assemblages from a variety of materials including aluminum, tin, copper, glass, wood, fabric, and found objects. Some were three dimensional like sculpture, and he was a meticulous craftsman.

He was named for the presidential and vice presidential candidates in 1880 and grew up in a conventional upper middle class family in Geneva, New York where his father was a brickmaker and contractor. Dove started drawing at an early age and began painting at age nine at the encouragement of a neighbor, Newton Weatherby, who was a naturalist and truck farmer as well as amateur painter and musician. Weatherby inspired a life-long love of nature in Dove, which was evident in his artwork.

His independent spirit was evident early when at the age of twelve he resigned from the Presbyterian Church for refusing to allow an atheist a right to his opinion. He attended Hobart College for two years and Cornell University, where he studied pre law to please his father but became increasingly interested in art. A creator of humorous caricatures, he was yearbook editor and was guided towards illustration by an instructor.

After graduating in 1903, he was a commercial illustrator in New York, working for "Harpers," "Scribners," "Collier's," "Life," and the "Saturday Evening Post." He married a hometown friend, lived comfortably in the city, and painted in his spare time, but his growing desire to paint led to their going to Paris.

There he met Alfred Maurer, who was to be his best friend for the remainder of his life, and through him moved in art circles that included Matisse, Picasso, and Cezanne. His style at that time was impressionist, but he and Maurer worked to reduce impressionism to larger areas of pure color in the manner of Matisse and Fauvism.

He returned to New York in 1909 and took up illustrating again briefly, but through contact with Alfred Steiglitz, exhibited with Steiglitz' Gallery 291 of avant-garde artists. The American public's first exposure to Dove was in a 1912 exhibit at Gallery 291 and shocked many viewers who regarded him as a deranged modernist. Steiglitz friendship and encouragement proved extremely valuable to Dove who also moved in avant-garde art circles with John Sloan, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Alfred Maurer, and Georgia O'Keeffe.

Struggling financially, he moved his young family to Westport, Connecticut and with little family support for his career, his first marriage broke up. He later married Helen Torr (affectionately called ‘Reds'), and they lived frugally on houseboats and as caretakers in private homes. Although critics began to recognize his work, the public did not respond during his lifetime, and few of his works sold.

In 1933, he inherited the meager estate of his parents and moved to Geneva for five years where he tried to make a living as a farmer but had little success. Bad health forced him in 1938 to an inlet on Long Island Sound, and he lived there the remaining six years of his life as a semi-invalid with painting as his only activity. With the help of his wife who held his hand with the brush, he was highly productive doing paintings with loose wash-like qualities. His cheerful personality was reflected in the tranquil mood of his work. He died of a heart attack in November, 1946.

An important source for modern and contemporary American & European Art in East Hampton, New York & worldwide, Janet Lehr Fine Arts' spectacular wide-ranging inventory consists of unique paintings, drawings, large & small scale sculpture, monotypes, prints and photographs  by Ansel Adams, Milton Avery, Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Fernando Botero, Cartier-Bresson, Marc Chagall, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Willem De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, David Hockney, Winslow Homer, Wolf Kahn, Jeff Koons, Fernand Leger, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Thomas Moran, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Charles Sheeler, Bert Stern, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, Carleton E Watkins, Tom Wesselmann and Andrew Wyeth.

To bookmark Janet Lehr Fine Arts Gallery website:

View synoptic biography below.

Please contact the gallery for current inventory.

Please contact the gallery for current inventory.
Clouds and Water courtesy of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Works by Arthur Dove are in over 50 museums including:

Ackland Art MuseumAddison Gallery of American Art; Amon Carter Museum of Art;  Arizona State UnivDenver Art Museum; Detroit Art Institute; ersity Art Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; Brandywine River Museum;   Butler Institute of American Art;    Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie ; Delaware Art Museum; Frederick R Weisman Art Museum; George Walter Vincent Smith Museum; Georgia Museum of Art; Greenville Museum of Art;  Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art; High Museum, Atlanta;  Hirshhorn Museum and Scupture Garden;  Hunter Museum of American Art; Maier Museum of Art; Memorial Art Gallery; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute; National Gallery of Art; New Jersey State Museum;  Norton Museum of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Phoenix Art Museum; San Diego Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art;  Sara Roby Foundation; The Seattle Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum of Art;  Smith College Museum of Art;  The Columbus Museum of Art-OhioThe Columbus Museum-Georgia; The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art  and  Yale University Art Gallery .


"Sensory Crossovers - Synesthesia in American Art," The Albuquerque Museum
Dove/O'Keeffe, Circles of Influence, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
Selected Works by Gallery Artists, Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY
The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia: 1860-1989 , Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Small and Everlasting (1897 -2008) : Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, ACA Galleries, New York, NY
Painting in the United States: 1943-1949, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA
The American Evolution - A History through Art, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Paradigms and the Unexpected: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL
Leaders in American Modernism , Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL
Selected Works by Gallery Artists, Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY
Babcock Galleries, New York, NY
American Modernism, The de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
Modern and Contemporary Landscapes - Forum Gallery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
American Moderns 1900-1950, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
In the American Grain - Dove, Hartley, Marin, O'Keeffe, and Stieglitz, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
Recent Acquisitions - Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
Villa America - American Moderns - 1900-1950, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
The Stieglitz Circle at The Phillips Collection, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Arthur Dove : Watercolors, Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Sons & Lumières: Une histoire du son dans l'art du XXe siècle, Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France
Debating American Modernism - Stieglitz, Duchamp, and the New York Avant-Garde, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Summer Landscapes II , Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY
Routes toward Modernism - American Painting 1870 - 1950, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX
Modernism & Abstraction - Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
American Modernism from the Stieglitz Group, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Arthur Dove: A Retrospective: The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
Arthur G. Dove - Mixing Media, MFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MA (solo)
Arthur Dove Watercolors, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
Arthur Dove, San Francisco Museum of Art; Albright-Knox, Buffalo, NY; St. Louis Art Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; Des Moines Art Center; Whitney Museum, NY
Arthur Dove, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
Arthur Dove , The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX (solo)
Arthur Dove, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (solo)
Arthur G. Dove: Exhibition of Oils and Temperas, Alfred Stieglitz's Gallery New York, NY (solo)
131st Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Steiglitz' Gallery 291, New York, NY
Steiglitz' Gallery 291, New York, NY (solo)

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