Tree

Artist: Arthur Dove (American, Canandaigua, New York 1880–1946 Huntington, New York )

Date: 1935

Medium: Watercolor, tempera, and ink on paper

Dimensions: 5 x 7 in. (12.7 x 17.8 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.70.96

Rights and Reproduction: © The estate of Arthur G. Dove

Description

In 1930, Dove began to work regularly in watercolor, becoming as skillful and prolific in that medium as he was in oil painting. In this image, concentric rings of gradated color evoke a tree's profile of full foliage, its seasonal cycle of bloom and decay, and its interaction with light and air. The "tree" of this watercolor also resembles the stamen of a flower, or some embryonic organism still enclosed in its egg or cocoon. Dove's imagery even makes a symbolic reference to the human body. Here, the phallic shape of the central vertical element, which suggestively penetrates the layered ovoid form, relates to Dove's constant themes of regeneration and growth.

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