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Arthur Dove

Ferry Boat Wreck


about this work

Beginning in the mid-1920s, Arthur Dove turned his attention to the watery landscape of Long Island, where he was a resident caretaker for a local yacht club until 1933. Throughout this period, Dove made paintings and collages that reflect the moods and colors of water and the effects of nature’s forces on the ever-changing surface of the sea. Ferry Boat Wreck is an abstracted interpretation of a wreck he witnessed not far from his home. The dark forms of the sinking boat are outlined against a jagged strip of sand in the foreground and successive bands of waves that merge into clouds. A disk of concentric stripes–perhaps the sun or the moon–pierces the scene. With its overlapping spaces and abstracted, interpenetrating forms, Ferry Boat Wreck expresses Dove’s desire to examine the interrelation of objects and their environments, and to convey the sensations experienced in nature rather than visual realism.

Arthur Dove, Ferry Boat Wreck, 1931  56.21
Arthur Dove, Ferry Boat Wreck, 1931. Oil on canvas, 18 × 30 in. (45.7 × 76.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger  56.21 For Teachers
© The Estate of Arthur G. Dove