About This Artwork

Arthur Dove
American, 1880–1946

Silver Sun, 1929

Oil, metallic paint, and an unidentified material (possibly wax) on canvas
55.3 x 74.9 cm (21 3/4 x 29 1/2 in.)
Signed verso, top stretcher bar: "Silver Sun/1929 Dove"

Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.531

Arthur Dove became the first American painter to experiment with pure abstraction in a series of works that he produced between 1910 and 1911. As his career progressed, however, he turned to the fundamental forms of nature, and the sun became one of his favorite motifs. Alfred Stieglitz, who believed Dove was among the most important modern American artists, exhibited Silver Sun in his 1929 show of Dove’s work at the Intimate Gallery. In the exhibition catalogue, Dove described how he formulated his art: “There is no such thing as abstraction. It is extraction, gravitation toward a certain direction, and minding your own business. If the extract be clear enough its value will exist.”

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, S. M. Kootz Gallery, Modern American Painters, 1930, pl. 16.

New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Pioneers of Modern Art in America, Apr. 9-May 19, 1946, cat. 40.

San Francisco Museum of Art, Arthur Dove, Nov. 20, 1974-Jan. 5, 1975, p. 41 (ill.); traveled to Buffalo, Albright-Knox Gallery, Jan. 27-Mar. 2; St. Louis Art Museum, Apr. 3-May 27; Art Institute of Chicago, July 12-Aug. 31; Des Moines Art Center, Sept. 22-Nov. 2; New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Nov. 27, 1975-Jan. 18, 1976.

Milwaukee Art Museum, Personal Intensity: Artists in Spite of the Mainsteam, Oct. 10-Dec. 22, 1991.

Tokyo, ASAHI Shimbun, Masterworks of Modern Art from The Art Institute of Chicago; traveled to Nagaoka, Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Apr. 20-May 29, 1994, Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, June 10-July 24, 1994, Yokohama Museum of Art Aug. 6-Sept. 25, 1994.

Washington D.C., Phillips Collection, Arthur Dove: A Retrospective, Sept. 20, 1997-Jan. 4, 1998; traveled to New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Jan. 15-Apr. 12, 1998, Andover, Mass., Addison Gallery of American Art, Apr. 25-July 12, 1998, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Aug. 2-Oct. 4, 1998.

Publication History

Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 129.

“Arthur Dove Exhibition,” Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago, 69 (July/Aug. 1975), ill.

Ann Lee Morgan, "Arthur Dove: Life and Work with Catalogue Raisonne" (Associated University Press, 1984).

Jonathan Stuhlman et. al., "Georgia O'Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction," exh. cat. (Hudson HIlls Press, 2007) p. 29 (ill.).

Judith A. Barter et al., "American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago, From World War I to 1955," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 65.

"Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Highlights of the Collection," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017) p. 114.

Ownership History

Alfred Stieglitz Collection, New York; bequeathed through Georgia O'Keeffe to The Art Institute of Chicago, 1949.

View mobile website