Early Abstract and Modernist Painting

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

Object-Arthur Dove, Sails AND Nature Symbolized #3: Steeple and Trees

One of the first American artists to abandon imitative representation, Arthur Dove created oil and pastel compositions in which dynamic shapes, lines, and colors evoke the essence—rather than the outward appearance—of natural forms. Nature Symbolized #3: Steeple and Trees and Sails belong to a series of ten pastels he made in 1911 and 1912 that were later dubbed the “Ten Commandments.” They were shown together in 1912 at 291, the pioneering New York gallery run by the photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946). Among the first abstract artworks ever exhibited in the United States, Dove’s pastels caused a sensation among American viewers who, until the Armory Show in New York the following year, were largely unaware of the abstract art then gaining recognition in Europe. With their organic imagery borrowed from nature and their expressive dynamism, these pictures presaged the emerging American modernism of the early twentieth century.

Learn more about Sails and Nature Symbolized #3: Steeple and Trees on the Terra Foundation website.


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

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