Shimmering concentric circles of silver and blue radiate downward from the deep black center of the sun, dwarfing its tiny reflection in the water below. Although Arthur Dove experimented early on with abstraction, in the 1920s he developed a unique representational style that simplified elements and toyed with scale to capture the fundamental forms and forces of nature. Dove was equally fascinated with the materials of art and here mixed metallic paint with something like wax to thicken its consistency. The textured brushwork emphasizes the sun’s brilliance, making its rays almost tangible.
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
Extended information about this artwork
Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 129.
“Arthur Dove Exhibition,” Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago, 69 (July/Aug. 1975), ill.
Ann Lee Morgan, “Arthur Dove: Life and Work with Catalogue Raisonne” (Associated University Press, 1984).
Jonathan Stuhlman et. al., “Georgia O’Keeffe: Circling Around Abstraction,” exh. cat. (Hudson HIlls Press, 2007) p. 29 (ill.).
Judith A. Barter et al., American Modernism at the Art Institute of CHicago, From World War I to 1955, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 65.
Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago: Highlights of the Collection, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017) p. 114.
New York, S. M. Kootz Gallery, Modern American Painters, 1930, pl. 16.
New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Pioneers of Modern Art in America, Apr. 9–May 19, 1946, cat. 40.
San Francisco Museum of Art, Arthur Dove, Nov. 20, 1974–Jan. 5, 1975, p. 41 (ill.); Buffalo, Albright–Knox Gallery, Jan. 27–Mar. 2; St. Louis Art Museum, Apr. 3–May 27; Art Institute of Chicago, July 12–Aug. 31; Des Moines Art Center, Sept. 22–Nov. 2; New York City, Whitney Museum of American Art, Nov. 27, 1975–Jan. 18, 1976.
Milwaukee Art Museum, Personal Intensity: Artists in Spite of the Mainsteam, Oct. 10–Dec. 22, 1991.
Tokyo, ASAHI Shimbun, Masterworks of Modern Art from The Art Institute of Chicago; Nagaoka, Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Apr. 20–May 29, 1994, Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, June 10–July 24, 1994, Yokohama Museum of Art Aug. 6–Sept. 25, 1994.
Washington DC, Phillips Collection, Arthur Dove: A Retrospective, Sept. 20, 1997–Jan. 4, 1998; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Jan. 15–Apr. 12, 1998, Andover, Mass., Addison Gallery of American Art, Apr. 25–July 12, 1998, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Aug. 2–Oct. 4, 1998.
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, New York; bequeathed through Georgia O’Keeffe to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1949.
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