Imagining Landscapes

Arthur g. dove, sunrise iii


Arthur G. Dove, Sunrise III, 1937
Wax emulsion on canvas, 63.2 x 89.2 cm
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Katherine S. Dreier to the Collection Societe

Why not make things look like nature? Because I do not consider that important and it is my nature to make them this way.

Arthur G. Dove, 1927

Maybe the world is a dream and everything in it is your self.

Arthur G. Dove, n.d.

John marin, study of the sea


John Marin, Study of the sea, 1917
Watercolour and charcoal, 40.6 x 48.2 cm
Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio
Gift of Ferdinand Howald

There are certain laws, certain formulae. You have to know them. They are nature's laws and you have to follow them just as nature follows them. You find the laws and you fill them in in your pictures and you discover that they are the same laws as in the old pictures. You don't create the formulae ... You see them.

John Marin, 1937

John marin, camden mountain across the bay


John Marin, Camden Mountain across the bay, 1922
Watercolour, 43.8 x 52.1 cm
Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (by exchange)

Seems to me the true artist must perforce go from time to time to the elemental big forms – Sky, Sea, Mountain, Plain – and those things pertaining thereto, to sort of nature himself up, to recharge the battery. For these big forms have everything. But to express these, you have to love these, to be a part of these in sympathy. One doesn't get very far without this love, this love to enfold too the relatively little things that grow on the mountain's back.

John Marin, 1928

Arshile gorky, the plough and the song


Arshile Gorky, The plough and the Song, 1947
Oil on canvas, 128.9 x 159.3 cm
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
R.T. Miller, Jr Fund

The artist cannot avoid nature and his return to it should not be equated with primitivism but instead a re-evaluation of nature based on the new experiences perceived through the complexity of civilization ... Perceiving nature through the eyes of civilization brings to great art more authority and strength.

I do not paint in front of but from within nature.

Art is a very personal poetic vision or interpretation conditioned by environment.

Arshile Gorky, c.1940-1945

Anon, housatonic falls


Anon, Housatonic Falls, n.d.
The New Milford Historical Society,
New Milford, Connecticut

Arshile gorky, housatonic falls


Arshile Gorky, Housatonic Falls, 1942-3
Oil on canvas, 86.3 x 111.76 cm. Reproduced from Arshile Gorky. The implications of symbols, by Harry Rand. Allanheld, Osmun & Co, New Jersey, 1981
Location of original unknown

It is clear just how accurate Gorky's representation is. He showed Housatonic Falls as a low, wide, rocky bench in the river. The falls entirely crossed the stream where it passed through a short but narrow gorge that abruptly rose at that point in the river. Just at that spot the river crashed over the falls and then, constricted by the gorge, flowed on turbulently.

Harry Rand, 1980


Conron, John (ed.), The American landscape, Oxford University Press, New York, 1974

McShine, Frank (ed.), The natural paradise, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1976

Novak, Barbara, Nature and culture, Oxford University Press, New York, 1982

Stilgoe, John R., Common landscape of America, 1580 to 1845, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982

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