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Cows in Pasture

Arthur G. Dove ( 1935 )

On View

Collection item 0548
  • Location Goh Annex (1612) - Display, Gallery 103
  • Period Twentieth-Century
  • Materials Wax emulsion on canvas
  • Object Number 0548
  • Dimensions 20 x 28 in.; 50.8 x 71.12 cm.; Framed: 21 3/4 in x 30 in x 1 3/4 in; 55.24 cm x 76.2 cm x 4.45 cm
  • Credit Line Acquired 1936

Arthur Dove always found his inspiration in the abundance of nature. However abstract his paintings became, each was rooted in a place, time, and memory of something real that he had experienced or seen. He sought to replicate nature’s rhythmic patterns. In Cows in Pasture, painted during Dove’s years in Geneva, New York, he accomplished this effortlessly. Dove flattens the landscape, creating a shallow picture plane and curving shapes of color; the hills in the background echo the bulbous shapes of the cows. Dove also established a rhythmic pattern by limiting the color palette to browns, greens, whites, and blacks, laying the colors in a way that unifies the entire painting. Duncan Phillips wrote about the painting in Magazine of Art in 1947: “The heavy sluggish shapes, the dull and mossy greens and browns, provide the mental picture of the animals at rest. Black and white and dun-colored, they are huddled in a pasture, their hind quarters settled comfortably into congenial turf … the lazy contours suggest the slow and drowsy rumination.”