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The evocative paintings of flowers and southwestern landscapes by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986) have long defined her role as a distinctly American icon and one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. Yet a vital factor in her early development is frequently overlooked: from the outset of her career in the 1910s, O'Keeffe credited the work of Arthur Dove (1880–1946) as her primary introduction to modern art. Dove, acknowledged as America's first abstract painter, used colorful, dynamic forms to reflect his sensitive communion with the physical world, an approach that inspired the young O'Keeffe to experiment with abstraction. The two artists eventually met in 1918, introduced by the photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz (who would later become O'Keeffe's husband), and they maintained a lifelong respect for each other's work. Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence explores the visual and thematic interests shared by these two pioneers of twentieth-century painting, examining Dove's role in O'Keeffe's early practice and O'Keeffe's subsequent impact on Dove's work. Over the course of several decades, their artistic dialogue yielded a form of modernism grounded in direct, emotional responses to nature, and their profound aesthetic connection helped shape the course of art in America.
Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. It is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.