About this artwork
In 1912 Arthur Dove made news when he exhibited in New York and Chicago ten pastels that were the first abstract works by an American to be seen by the public. Beginning with themes from nature, Dove had simplified and rearranged them, creating patterns, rhythms, and color harmonies that demonstrated how artists could dispense with representational subjects in order to communicate through form and color alone. From then on, Dove dedicated himself to exploring how he might depart from illusionism without abandoning nature.
Silver Sun reveals with particular clarity Dove’s method of recasting nature into art. The artist’s sense of wonder at the force and beauty of the world is apparent, but so is his control over his creative means and, ultimately, over our aesthetic experience. Dove imparted a metaphysical radiance through expanding rings of blue and green, and through his use of glowing metallic-silver paint. He simplified, adjusted, and accented the landscape until the pulsating image no longer represented the thing seen but rather conveyed feeling, impact, and meaning.
Dove remained committed to a personal vision. Nevertheless, he was well informed about current trends, and a web of interconnections links his work to that of others. For example, Silver Sun relates to the art of two of Dove’s friends, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe (see p. 116) and the photographer Alfred Stieglitz: they, like Dove, sometimes depicted transcendent skies in order to communicate a vision of the wholeness of nature.
- Arthur Dove
- Silver Sun
- United States
- Oil, metallic paint, and an unidentified material (possibly wax) on canvas
- Signed verso, top stretcher bar: "Silver Sun/1929 Dove"
- 55.3 × 74.9 cm (21 3/4 × 29 1/2 in.)
- Alfred Stieglitz Collection