Untitled, ca. 1942
Arthur Dove (American, 18801946)
Tempera on paper; 3 x 4 in. (10.2 x 7.6 cm)
Gift of William C. Dove, 1984 (1984.536.1)
In the last years of his life, a severely ill Dove found himself restricted to the immediate vicinity of his home in Centerport, New York. Unable to travel for new subjects, he concentrated instead on creating highly abstracted images of familiar scenery. Working on a small sketchpad, Dove composed several hundred studies whose intimate, handheld scale is belied by their strong geometrical forms and bold color contrasts. In many examples of this late work, he also experimented with combinations of various media, keeping careful notations of his mixtures of colors and paint types. This small tempera painting, with its interlocking shapes and two-dimensional color, is typical of Dove's late career. Within its centralized composition, the simplified, repeated forms of triangles and wavy lines create a play of positive and negative space.