About this artwork
Helen Torr and her husband, the painter Arthur Dove, enjoyed a richly artistic and supportive marriage as they both experimented with modernist art-making techniques. Extemporaneous is one of the most unusual works of Torr’s career, and it is striking for its irregular play of narrow bands of silvery gray, which exuberantly thrust into the corners of the composition. When Torr made Extemporaneous,she and her husband lived aboard a sailboat, and some part of its structure might well have informed this work. Certain elements recall shaped metal fittings, complete with small round circles that are reminiscent of rivets or nails. But the artist deliberately abstracted any recognizable motifs, leaving an eloquent exploration of pure form and color.
- Helen Torr
- United States
- Oil on metal, mounted on board
- 40.6 × 36.8 cm (16 × 14 1/2 in.)
- Through prior acquisition of Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson; through prior bequest of George F. Porter; Mr. and Mrs. Frederick G. Wacker Jr., Endowment; through prior acquisitions of Friends of American Art and Charles H. and Mary F.S. Worcester; Robert McCormick Fund; restricted gift of Elizabeth Souder Louis