Circles of Influence
Clark Art Institute, 9780300134100, 168pp.
Publication Date: June 30, 2009
From the outset of her career, Georgia O’Keeffe credited her introduction to modernism as deriving in part from a reproduction of a pastel by Arthur Dove she saw around 1913. By this time Dove was well established as the foremost modernist artist in America, yet O’Keeffe herself would later become a source of renewal for his work.
Renowned scholar Debra Bricker Balken here offers the first investigation into the interrelationship between these two great artists. She shows that while Dove’s sensual evocations of landscape—his abstractions of nature’s undulating rhythms and forms—offered inspiration for O’Keeffe, the influence of O’Keeffe’s work on Dove was equally significant. After 1930, Dove turned to O’Keeffe’s early works for renewed aesthetic inspiration, mining, as he put it, her “burning watercolors.”
Beyond examining the impact of these mutual influences, this beautifully illustrated publication situates Dove and O’Keeffe within the circle of Alfred Stieglitz, and brings them into a fuller context within the modernist scene of the 1920s and 1930s. What emerges is a fascinating look at the first pivotal moment of modernism in America.
About the Author
Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and writer. Among her many books is After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism, and the Midwest (Yale).