Thursday, November 27, 2014

Arthur Wesley Dow, Ipswich, Fishing Boats

Arthur Wesley Dow, Ipswich, Fishing Boats
6.5 x 14.25 in.

Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922) was an American painter and printmaker who became best known as an art teacher and was an important figure in the development of arts education.  Many of his works are landscapes, from loose renderings of an Alberta lake to impressive views of the Grand Canyon.  This particular piece is a very small painting, and its date is unknown, but it is a beautiful piece and represents Dow's views on art.  He believed that art should be more than a copy of nature, that individual elements like composition, line, color, and form come together to create harmony and produce something greater than the sum of its parts.  Ipswich, Fishing Boats demonstrates these ideals; far from an exact copy of nature, the painting uses attributes like the intense red of the sails, the movement and reflectiveness of the water, the houses and trees in the background, and the artist's loose and expressive brushstrokes, to create a painting that evokes the Ipswich harbor it depicts.  This was an important place for Dow, for he founded the Ipswich Summer School of Art there and served as director for nearly twenty years.  This painting captures the beautiful simplicity of the town and harbor.

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