Dove/O'Keeffe Circles of Influence Debra Bricker Balken

Publication date:
30 Jun 2009
Clark Art Institute
168 pages: 292 x 203mm
139 color illus.
Sales territories:

From the outset of her career, Georgia O’Keeffe credited her introduction to modernism as deriving in part from a reproduction of a pastel by Arthur Dove she saw around 1913. By this time Dove was well established as the foremost modernist artist in America, yet O’Keeffe herself would later become a source of renewal for his work.


Renowned scholar Debra Bricker Balken here offers the first investigation into the interrelationship between these two great artists. She shows that while Dove’s sensual evocations of landscape—his abstractions of nature’s undulating rhythms and forms—offered inspiration for O’Keeffe, the influence of O’Keeffe’s work on Dove was equally significant. After 1930, Dove turned to O’Keeffe’s early works for renewed aesthetic inspiration, mining, as he put it, her “burning watercolors.”


Beyond examining the impact of these mutual influences, this beautifully illustrated publication situates Dove and O’Keeffe within the circle of Alfred Stieglitz, and brings them into a fuller context within the modernist scene of the 1920s and 1930s. What emerges is a fascinating look at the first pivotal moment of modernism in America.

Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and writer. Among her many books is After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism, and the Midwest (Yale).

"Balken . . . explores O'Keeffe's and Dove's influence on each other's output and career from 1914, when O'Keeffe first saw a reproduction of Dove's work, through the 1930s, when Dove began producing watercolors spurred by his memory of viewing O'Keeffe's at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 Gallery in 1917."?Martha Smith, Library Journal