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Tree Forms and Water by Arthur Dove

Tree Forms and Water, 1928

Arthur Dove

This landscape, lacking perspective and a horizon line, is so tightly cropped and simplified that it is nearly unrecognizable. How can we understand these textured shapes of intense color? The title provides a clue: the blue sections could be ripples of water, the deep rust-brown a tree trunk. In this context, you can see the small protrusions from the upper arm of the brown trunk as buds, and the pale oval on the lower arm as a knot. Working on wood, Dove rubbed his pastels deeply into the surface. The natural grain of the panel shows through, providing the outlines of his subject.

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Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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