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Circles of Influence

Debra Bricker Balken

View Inside Format: HC - Paper over Board
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From the outset of her career, Georgia O’Keeffe credited her introduction to modernism as deriving in part from a reproduction of a pastel by Arthur Dove she saw around 1913. By this time Dove was well established as the foremost modernist artist in America, yet O’Keeffe herself would later become a source of renewal for his work.


Renowned scholar Debra Bricker Balken here offers the first investigation into the interrelationship between these two great artists. She shows that while Dove’s sensual evocations of landscape—his abstractions of nature’s undulating rhythms and forms—offered inspiration for O’Keeffe, the influence of O’Keeffe’s work on Dove was equally significant. After 1930, Dove turned to O’Keeffe’s early works for renewed aesthetic inspiration, mining, as he put it, her “burning watercolors.”


Beyond examining the impact of these mutual influences, this beautifully illustrated publication situates Dove and O’Keeffe within the circle of Alfred Stieglitz, and brings them into a fuller context within the modernist scene of the 1920s and 1930s. What emerges is a fascinating look at the first pivotal moment of modernism in America.

Distributed for the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Exhibition Schedule:

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts (June 7 – September 7, 2009)

Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and writer. Among her many books is After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism, and the Midwest (Yale).


Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts (June 7 – September 7, 2009)

"Balken . . . explores O'Keeffe's and Dove's influence on each other's output and career from 1914, when O'Keeffe first saw a reproduction of Dove's work, through the 1930s, when Dove began producing watercolors spurred by his memory of viewing O'Keeffe's at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 Gallery in 1917."—Martha Smith, Library Journal
ISBN: 9780300134100
Publication Date: June 30, 2009
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
168 pages, 8 x 11 1/2
139 color illus.

Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976

Edited by Norman L. Kleeblatt

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After Many Springs

Regionalism, Modernism, and the Midwest

Debra Bricker Balken; Introduction by Jeff Fleming

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John Marin

Modernism at Midcentury

Debra Bricker Balken

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Arthur Dove

A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings and Things

Debra Bricker Balken; With contributions by Jessie Sentivan

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