Videos ()
The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi


Clouds and Water

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

Oil on canvas, with selective varnish
29 5/8 x 39 5/8 in. (75.2 x 100.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Clouds and Water was inspired by the landscape of Halesite, a town on the north shore of Long Island where Dove and his companion Helen "Reds" Torr lived in the late 1920s. They resided on their boat, the Mona, in warm weather and they had just begun their first winter as caretakers of the Ketewomoke Yacht Club in November 1929. From their second-floor room at the Yacht Club, surrounded by windows on three sides, Dove and Torr had an unimpeded view of Huntington Harbor. In the airy marine prospect of Clouds and Water, several sailboats dip along the surface of the waves, and a landscape of rounded hills rises in the distance. The sky, which fills half the canvas, is banded with long curving lines that suggest wind currents. The painting's unrestrained painting style indicates Dove's philosophy about the elements of nature: they are independent yet interconnected, unique yet mutable. He also expressed this idea in the verse-like statement that he had written earlier for the catalogue of the exhibition Seven Americans in 1925, which reads in part:

    Works of nature are abstract.
    They do not lean on other things for meaning.
    The seagull is not like the sea
    Nor is the sun like the moon.
    The sun draws water from the sea.
    The clouds are not like either one-
    They do not keep one form forever.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed (lower right): DOVE

  • Exhibition History

    Huntington, New York: Heckscher Museum, August 20 - September 17, 1967. ¦Arthur G.Dove of Long Island Sound¦ P. 7, no. 18 (listed), p. 9, no. 18 (ill.)

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Museum of Art, September - October 22, 1944. ¦History of an American: Alfred Stieglitz "291" and After¦. P. 34, no. 258.

    New York: An American Place, April 10 - May 17, 1939. ¦Arthur G. Dove, Exhibition of Oils and Temperas¦. No. 14.

  • References

    Creative Art, 1932 (June), colorplate opp. p. 423. An American Collection in "Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin". 1945 (May), p. 77, ill.

    Morgan, Ann Lee. Arthur Dove: Life and Work with a Catalogue Raisonne. Newark: University of Deleware Press, London and Toronto: Associated University Press, 1984. C.R. # 30.5.

    Farrell, Kate. Art & Nature: An Illustrated Anthology of Nature Poetry. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. P. 31, illus.