History And Context
In 1938, Arthur Dove spent his last summer in Geneva, in upstate New York. During his time on the family farm, Dove sought inspiration from the surrounding landscape, including Lake Seneca, which Dove could see through the back windows of his home. Dove wrote, “We overlook the lake from the rear and are on one of the city’s main corners on two other sides which have 19 windows 10 feet high so we have light—and heat.” During his time in Geneva, Dove believed he produced some of his finest paintings, as he had a firm command of the landscape.
Dove’s paintings during this time reflect the juxtaposition of the natural wonder of the lake against the growing urbanization of the city. In Shore Front, Dove has reduced the lake to a small strip of green at the bottom of the canvas. The focus is on what is beyond the lake—a batch of trees and a telephone pole, which breaks up the visual rhythm of the painting with its obtrusive verticality. In this painting, Dove is emphasizing the relationship between the natural and manmade landscape.