Golden Storm, executed on the artist's boat in Huntington Harbor, Long Island, is among the earliest Dove paintings in the Collection and represents Dove at the beginning of his mature style. The small scale, the result of limited working space, does not detract from the immense power of the image. In Golden Storm, Dove captured the movement of water, freezing it into abstract, timeless patterns of choppy waves heaving under ominous billowing clouds. The palette is orchestrated within a narrow range of tonal values that not only emphasize form but also enhance the overall effect. The dark blues and glowing gold tones of the metallic paint in Golden Storm radiate an iridescent gleam reminiscent of a cloudy sky illuminated by lightning.
Dove’s works of this time successfully evoke the inner vitality of nature and constitute the culmination of the formative influences in Dove's development, including trends in European modernist art, especially Kandinsky's notion of spirituality, and the ideals concerning individual expression espoused by Stieglitz's group. Such sources encouraged him to interpret his surroundings in an abstract style, in an effort to elicit the unseen forces they contained.
Duncan Phillips's acquisition of Golden Storm in 1926 represented a breakthrough for the collector in his growing acceptance of abstract form and expressive color as evocations of nature's underlying dynamism. He admired Golden Storm as a "symphonic tone-poem on earth shapes whirled in the maelstrom," comparing it to the art of Ryder, whom he considered Dove's "spiritual ancestor," not only in his reduction of nature's forms to their purest elements, but also in his experimental techniques and choice of medium." Phillips also recognized a spiritual element in this early work, as when he wrote: "[W]hen there is a hint of great things going on in the mind of the artist and of his consciousness of the rhythm of the universe, abstract art ceases to be an amusement for the aesthete and becomes a divine activity."