Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image: 22 3/4 x 31 inches (57.8 x 78.7 cm)
Frame: 31 x 39 x 1 3/4 inches (78.7 x 99.1 x 5.1 cm)
Dr. and Mrs. Milton Lurie Kramer, Class of 1936, Collection;
Bequest of Helen Kroll Kramer
Object Number: 77.062.002
A Cornell alumnus (Class of 1903), Arthur Dove began his career as a successful illustrator for popular magazines of the time: Harper's, Saturday Evening Post, Life, and Collier's. After he had saved enough money, he traveled to Paris in 1908, where he was influenced by the Fauves. He returned to New York City in 1909 and in 1910 was included in a group exhibition entitled "Younger American Painters" at Gallery 291, owned and operated by the famous art dealer and photographer Alfred Stieglitz. By 1912, Dove had had his first one-man show at 291 called "Abstractions"; with Kandinsky and Kupka, Dove can claim to have created the first completely nonrepresentational painting. More typical, however, are the canvases Dove created in the 1920s when he started to introduce a series of symbols for, most notably, the sun, moon, and sea. His various odd jobs as farmer and lobsterman, along with the several years he lived on a boat, connected him intimately with these elemental aspects of nature. Alfie's Delight was named for the pleasure that his close friend and fellow painter Alfred Maurer found in the work. Dove's abstraction, or "extraction," as he called it, of nature can be seen in the series of overlapping discs and stem-like forms which can be read as a row of trees or flowers, exploding with energy, and which try "to weave the whole into a sequence of formations rather than to form an arrangement of facts." (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.