Arthur Garfield Dove (1880-1946)
Currently on view
Naples Yellow Morning
Oil on linen
25 1/8 x 35 in. (63.8175 x 88.9 cm.)
The Vivian O. and Meyer P. Potamkin Collection, Bequest of Vivian O. Potamkin
Shortly before Dove moved to Geneva, New York in 1933 he abandoned his experiments with collage and committed himself "to let go of everything and just try to make oil painting beautiful in itself." An avid reader of painting manuals, he studied mediums compatible with oil, and in the fall of 1935 he devoured Max Doerner's "Materials of an Artist" (1934). Propelled by his reading, he began to experiment with resin oil color and oil over tempera, "fat over lean," as Doerner recommended. In so doing, Dove discovered that he could create new clarity and brightness as well as texture and depth to his colors, and that his paintings, in turn seemed almost to pulsate with energy and vitality. "Naples Yellow Morning" derives its title from the color used by the old masters and praised by Doerner for its purity. By placing short, thinned, almost translucent brushstrokes over underlying hues of different intensity, Dove discovered that he could create the impression that the thick warmth of the sun was literally impregnating the forms in his composition.
Arthur Dove is acknowledged as one of the first artists to work in this modern manner. Like his friends John Marin and Georgia O'Keeffe, Dove revitalized American landscape painting by transcribing his responses to natural motifs through increasingly personal, simplified, and witty paintings and drawings.