Arthur Dove

Arthur Dove

American, 1880–1946
Sunrise I
1936, wax emulsion on canvas, 63.5 x 88.9 cm (25 x 35 in.)

In 1912 Alfred Stieglitz mounted a one-man exhibition of Dove’s work at his gallery 291—the first public exhibition of abstract art by an American. Dove’s abstractions were often rooted in nature and became increasingly bold in the latter part of his career, as seen in Sunrise I. Painted at his family’s property in western New York, the sunlike orb appears to glow over a horizon, yet the accompanying forms preclude such a literal reading. Some have seen this as a depiction of the moment of creation; it may hint at the artist’s interest in theosophy, which finds unity in all nature.