Early in his career, Dove produced a highly innovative series of pastel drawings that applied abstract formal means to subjects taken from nature. The shapes of a cow's head and body fill this canvas, in the curving forms of flanks, horns, and tail that fuse and intermingle. We seem to view the cow from several merging vantage points, as if we were shifting positions relative to the cow, or as if the cow itself were slowly moving. In this fragmentation and overlapping, Dove may have been influenced by Cubist works that he had seen exhibited in Europe and New York. Moreover, since he was earning his living as a farmer in the 1910s, close physical contact with animals was part of his everyday routine. Indeed, the subject of Cow seems to be presented from a "milker's eye view," which presses the viewer close to the animal's rear legs and udders.
the artist (to Stieglitz); Alfred Stieglitz, New York (probably 1912–d. 1946; his estate, 1946–49; gift to MMA)
New York. 291. "Exhibition of Paintings by Arthur Dove," Februrary 27–March 12, 1912, no catalogue.
An American Place. "Arthur G. Dove: New Oils and Water Colors," March 23–April 16, 1937, brochure no. 54.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "History of an American, Alfred Stieglitz: '291' and After, Selections from the Stieglitz Collection," July 1–November 1, 1944, no. 252.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Alfred Stieglitz Exhibition: His Collection," June 10–August 31, 1947, no catalogue (checklist no. 23).
Art Institute of Chicago. "Alfred Stieglitz: His Photographs and His Collection," February 2–29, 1948, extended to March 7, 1948, no catalogue (checklist no. 16).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "20th Century Painters: A Special Exhibition of Oils, Water Colors and Drawings Selected from the Collections of American Art in the Metropolitan Museum," June 16–October 29, 1950, unnum. brochure (p. 5).
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "From the Alfred Stieglitz Collection: An Extended Loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 22–August 12, 1951, no catalogue (checklist no. E.L.51.652; loan extended to May 15, 1961).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist.
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Arthur Dove," November 21, 1974–January 5, 1975, unnumbered cat. (p. 25).
Buffalo. Albright-Knox Art Gallery. "Arthur Dove," January 27–March 2, 1975, unnumbered cat.
St. Louis Art Museum. "Arthur Dove," April 3–May 25, 1975, unnumbered cat.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Arthur Dove," July 12–August 31, 1975, unnumbered cat.
Des Moines Art Center. "Arthur Dove," September 22–November 2, 1975, unnumbered cat.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Arthur Dove," November 24, 1975–January 18, 1976, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Revivals and Revitalizations: American Pastels in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1880–1930," October 17, 1989–January 14, 1990, extended to February 18, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 111).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe," October 13, 2011–January 2, 2012, no. 62.
Paul Rosenfeld. "American Painting." Dial (December 1921), p. 665, ill. facing p. 692.
Frederick S. Wight. Arthur G. Dove. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1958, p. 35.
Nicholas Joost. Scofield Thayer and The Dial: An Illustrated History. Carbondale, Ill., 1964, p. 225.
Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, p. 53.
Herbert J. Seligmann. Alfred Stieglitz Talking: Notes on Some of His Conversations, 1925–1931, with a Foreword. New Haven, 1966, pp. 34-36, 45.
Sanford Schwartz. "On Arthur Dove." Artforum 14 (February 1976), p. 30, ill.
William Innes Homer. "Identifying Arthur Dove's 'The Ten Commandments'." American Art Journal 12 (summer 1980), p. 29, ill.
Ann Lee Morgan. Arthur Dove: Life and Work, with a Catalogue Raisonné. Newark, Del., 1984, p. 112, no. 12/13.3.
Sherrye Cohn. Arthur Dove: Nature as Symbol. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1985, p. 93.
Ann Lee Morgan, ed. Dear Stieglitz, Dear Dove. Newark, Del., 1988, pp. 62-63, 190, 259, ill.
Anne Cohen DePietro in Anne Cohen DePietro. Arthur Dove and Helen Torr: The Huntington Years. Exh. cat., Heckscher Museum. Huntington, N. Y., 1989, p. 12, ill.
Nancy Newhall. From Adams to Stieglitz: Pioneers of Modern Photography. New York, 1989, p. 116.
James M. Dennis. Renegade Regionalists: The Modern Independence of Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry. Madison, 1998, pp. 200, 202, ill.
Melanie Kirschner. Arthur Dove: Watercolors and Pastels. New York, 1998, pp. 28, 46, 52, 78, pl. 5.
Marcia Brennan. Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: The Alfred Stieglitz Circle and American Formalist Aesthetics. Cambridge, Mass., 2001, pp. 21-22, ill.
Celeste Connor. Democratic Visions: Art and Theory of the Stieglitz Circle, 1924–1934. Berkeley, 2001, p. 28, ill.
Debra Bricker Balken. Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2009, pp. 68-69, fig. 59.
Jessica Murphy inStieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 106, 108, 258, no. 62, ill. (color).