I look at nature, I see myself. Paintings are mirrors, so is nature.
America in the 1910s and 1920s experienced rapid industrialization and urban growth. Arthur Dove sought refuge from the quickened pace of historical change by translating nature into an abstract and distinctly modern vocabulary of color, shape, and line. This retreat into the slow, sustained rhythms of the natural world, its annual renewal, and its visual, spiritual, and auditory sensations define his career.
An early American modernist, he is often considered the first American abstract painter. Dove used a wide range of media, sometimes in unconventional combinations, to produce his abstractions and his abstract landscapes. Me and the Moon from 1937 is a good example of an Arthur Dove abstract landscape and has been referred to as one of the culminating works of his career. Dove did a series of experimental collage works in the 1920s. He also experimented with techniques, combining paints like hand mixed oil or tempera over a wax emulsion as exemplified in Dove’s 1938 painting Tanks, in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Dove, who was an ardent amateur musician, was also deeply inspired by the parallels between the visual arts and music, and created many works inspired by the popular songs he listened to on the radio. Dove can be seen, simultaneously, as an heir to 19th-century Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, as well as an influence on such later Abstract Expressionists as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner.