History And Context
Electric Peach Orchard, painted in 1935, was executed in Geneva, New York, where Arthur Dove moved in 1933, to escape from New York City. The painting reveals the artist’s attraction to the outward appearance of nature, as well as nature’s underlying mysteries, a theme that fascinated Dove throughout his life and became most visible in his art during the 1930s. His interest in giving form to the mystical attributes of the environment was encouraged by fellow artists in the Stieglitz circle.
Here Dove transforms a diagonal row of trees into a series of writhing forms whose branches are linked by agitated, tendril-like lines that are literal representations of electric currents. These lines, which extend from the sky into the trees, also signify an interaction between the land and the atmosphere, perhaps the trees’ absorption of light or moisture. Dove, who was familiar with theosophical ideas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries which emphasized creating visual equivalents for nature’s hidden energies, may also have been influenced by other mystical theories that suggested electricity was physical proof of a fourth dimension and an unseen spiritual world.