Contrasting Colors: Arthur Dove & Georgia O’Keeffe

The recent exhibition, Circles of Influence, held at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, features the work of Georgia O’Keeffe and her main influence, and America’s first abstract painter, Arthur Dove. The exhibition takes a look at the similarities of their early work and the differences developed over their careers.

This comparison made me wonder whether or not they too shared similar color use as they did with their shapes and stokes. While I’m only familiar with a small portion of each artist’s work, it seems to me, even by the few examples below, that they did not.

Choosing more subdued natural tones, Dove’s color choices are certainly a take on his subjects, but maybe even more a reflection of himself. As it is pointed out in the New York Time’s article about the exhibition: “the shy, retiring dove,” as compared to the “iron-willed,” “strong personality” of O’Keeffe who seems to use more vibrant floral shades

Of course, the nature of their work is interpretation and representation of subject and surroundings, and their color choices could be more based on the physical and tangible side; Dove choosing to spend his time in Geneva or Long Island; O’Keeffe, spent most of her life in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but it is interesting that while they shared in shape and form, they contrasted in color.

Arthur Dove

Georgia O’Keeffe

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.