Arthur G. Dove (American, American, 1880 - 1946)
1921. Oil on canvas, 21 1/2 x 18 1/8". 1931.167
Arthur Dove, a central figure in the first generation of Modernist painters, sought refuge from the materialism of American culture by looking for his forms in nature. Thunderstorm is an example of Dove’s philosophical style of “extraction,” by which he sought to represent the essence of a thing, a style he distinguished from “abstraction.” This painting also reflects Dove’s interest in synesthesia—the visualization of sounds and vibrations expressed as shapes and colors. Here, the viewer can almost hear the “crack” as the lightning pierces the thunderclouds.