This untitled and undated pastel by the American modernist Arthur Dove found its way into the graphic arts collection without even a mention in the department's annual "new and notable" commentary. It has never been published and was not included in the artist's catalogue raisonné.
The pastel has been attributed on the verso to the 1930s, which is fitting. In 1920s, Dove lived with Helen Torr in a houseboat on Huntington Harbor, off Long Island, and he often included abstracted landscapes of the water and shore in his work. Dove also included elements of collage in his work of this period, none of which are present in this pastel.
At the end of the 1920s, Dove wrote to his dealer Alfred Stieglitz, "Am more interested now than ever in doing things than doing something about things. The pure paintings seem to stand out from those related too closely to what the eye sees there. To choose between here and there--I should say here." Dove to Stieglitz, October 1929, Beinecke Library.
In 1933, Dove moved to rural Geneva, New York, and produced a number of formal color studies based on the wildlife of the area, emphasizing shapes and lines in an effort to move closer to an organic abstraction. When he returned to Long Island in 1938, Dove's work changed once again; his color pallet became bolder and his abstractions more geometric. It is from somewhere within the early 1930s period that I believe Princeton's pastel was created.