Early Abstract and Modernist Painting

Helen Torr (1886–1967)
Purple and Green Leaves, 1927
Oil on copper mounted on board, 20 1/4 x 15 1/4 in. (51.4 x 38.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.142

Object-Helen Torr, Purple and Green Leaves

During the 1920s, Helen Torr participated in the development of a distinctly American brand of modernism along with fellow artists and friends such as her husband, Arthur Dove, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Typical of Torr’s flattened still-life paintings, Purple and Green Leaves, a simplified arrangement of tall, layered fronds, verges on the abstract. The image is singularly modern, but because Torr depicted the leaves as if framed in an arched recess space, it also suggests a medieval stained glass window. The glowing yellow and deep purple tints of the foliage, animated by faceted rays of color, lend the picture a mystical resonance. Likely featured in an exhibition of women artists that O’Keeffe organized at the Opportunity Gallery in New York City in 1927, the work demonstrates Torr’s sensitivity to her natural environment and her efforts to reveal its invisible, transcendent essence.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.



Early Abstract and Modernist Painting

Joseph Stella (1877–1946)
Telegraph Poles with Buildings, 1917
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. (92.1 x 76.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.139
Max Weber (1881–1961)
Construction, 1915
Oil on canvas, 22 7/8 x 27 7/8 in. (58.1 x 70.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1987.31
Patrick Henry Bruce (1881–1936)
Peinture, 1917–18
Oil and graphite on canvas, 25 5/8 x 32 1/8 in. (65.1 x 81.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.21
Marsden Hartley (1877–1943)
Painting No. 50, 1914–15
Oil on canvas, 47 x 47 in. (119.4 x 119.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.61
Arthur Dove (1880–1946)
Nature Symbolized #3: Steeple and Trees, 1911–12
Pastel on board mounted on wood panel, 18 x 21 1/2 in. (45.7 x 54.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image courtesy: The Estate of Arthur G. Dove/Terry Dintenfass, Inc., 1992.33
Arthur Dove (1880–1946)
Sails, 1911–12
Pastel on composition board mounted on wood panel, 17 7/8 x 21 1/2 in. (45.4 x 54.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image courtesy: The Estate of Arthur G. Dove/Terry Dintenfass, Inc., 1993.10
Charles Demuth (1883–1935)
Welcome to Our City, 1921
Oil on canvas, 25 1/8 x 20 1/8 in. (63.8 x 51.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1993.3
Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1880–1953)
Boy with Cow, 1921
Oil on canvas, 16 1/8 × 20 in. (41 × 50.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image © Estate of Yasuo Kuniyoshi/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 2017.1
Stuart Davis (1892–1964)
Super Table, 1925
Oil on canvas, 48 x 34 1/8 in. (122.2 x 86.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 1999.37
Helen Torr (1886–1967)
Purple and Green Leaves, 1927
Oil on copper mounted on board, 20 1/4 x 15 1/4 in. (51.4 x 38.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.142
Arthur Dove (1880–1946)
Boat Going through Inlet, c. 1929
Oil on tin, 20 1/8 × 28 1/4 in. (51.1 × 71.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. Image courtesy: The Estate of Arthur G. Dove/Terry Dintenfass, Inc., 2015.6
John Graham (1881–1961)
The Green Chair, 1928
Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 × 28 7/8 in. (100.3 × 73.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.60
John Storrs (1885–1956)
Politics, 1931
Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 in. (101.6 x 101.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2008.1
John Marin (1870–1953)
Brooklyn Bridge, on the Bridge, 1930
Watercolor on paper, 21 3/4 x 26 3/4 in. (55.2 x 67.9 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Estate of John Marin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 1999.95
John Marin (1870–1953)
Sailboat, Brooklyn Bridge, New York Skyline, 1934
Oil on canvas board, 14 x 17 3/4 in. (35.6 x 45.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2006.1
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986)
Red Amaryllis, 1937
Oil on canvas, 12 x 10 1/8 in. (30.5 x 25.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Gift of Mrs. Henrietta Roig. Image © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., C1984.1
Albert Eugene Gallatin (1881–1952)
Room Space, 1937–38
Oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 25 3/8 in. (76.8 x 64.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.56
Milton Avery (1885–1965)
Adolescence, 1947
Oil and graphite on canvas, 30 × 40 in. (76.2 × 101.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © 2018 The Milton Avery Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York., 1992.3
George Tooker (1920–2011)
Highway, 1953
Egg tempera on gesso hardboard, 22 7/8 x 17 7/8 in. (58.1 x 45.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Image © Estate of George Tooker. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York., 1992.134
Ed Paschke (1939–2004)
Topcat Boy, 1970
Acrylic on canvas, 71 x 51 in. (180.3 x 129.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2017.3
Beauford Delaney (1901–1979)
Untitled (Village Street Scene), 1948
Oil on canvas, 29 × 40 in. (73.7 × 101.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2018.2
Philip Evergood (1901–1973)
Passing Show, 1951
Oil on canvas mounted on Masonite, 65 1/2 x 48 in. (166.4 x 121.9 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.34
Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946)
Kalounna in Frogtown, 1986
Oil on Masonite, 36 x 50 1/8 in. (91.4 x 127.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.163