Arthur Wesley Dow

American, 1857–1922

75 followers

Arthur Wesley Dow

Bio

American, 1857–1922

Followers
75
Biography

In 1884, when he was 27 years old, Arthur Wesley Dow moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian and to paint on the coast of Brittany. After Dow returned to the US, he became an important commercial designer.

In 1895, Dow met Ernest Fenollosa, curator of the extraordinary collection of Oriental art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Fenollosa introduced him to Japanese art, including the conviction that art need not imitate nature but should develop organically from the formal abstract relationships of line, hue, and tone. Dow's friendship with Fenollosa led him to develop a deep interest in Japanese art, to incorporate the Japanese linear approach to form as well as broad planes of mass and color, and to attempt to synthesize Western and Eastern art. Although he designed relatively few posters, his works are important in terms of their stylistic innovations.

Dow was a highly-influential teacher, teaching at Pratt Institute, the Art Students League, and Columbia. In 1899 he published Composition, which provided students with a series of exercises that taught the manipulation of line, color, and tonal relationships within a composition. In 1903 he became head of the art department at Columbia University Teachers College, which further spread his ideas across the country, influencing the first generation of American modernist painters. His contributions as a teacher far surpass his legacy as an artist.

-S. Micah Salb
Washington Color Gallery

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Biography

In 1884, when he was 27 years old, Arthur Wesley Dow moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian and to paint on the coast of Brittany. After Dow returned to the US, he became an important commercial designer.

In 1895, Dow met Ernest Fenollosa, curator of the extraordinary collection of Oriental art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Fenollosa introduced him to Japanese art, including the conviction that art need not imitate nature but should develop organically from the formal abstract relationships of line, hue, and tone. Dow's friendship with Fenollosa led him to develop a deep interest in Japanese art, to incorporate the Japanese linear approach to form as well as broad planes of mass and color, and to attempt to synthesize Western and Eastern art. Although he designed relatively few posters, his works are important in terms of their stylistic innovations.

Dow was a highly-influential teacher, teaching at Pratt Institute, the Art Students League, and Columbia. In 1899 he published Composition, which provided students with a series of exercises that taught the manipulation of line, color, and tonal relationships within a composition. In 1903 he became head of the art department at Columbia University Teachers College, which further spread his ideas across the country, influencing the first generation of American modernist painters. His contributions as a teacher far surpass his legacy as an artist.

-S. Micah Salb
Washington Color Gallery

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
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