Commonly viewed as one of America's earliest purely abstract painters, Arthur Garfield Dove first worked as a successful commercial artist. After transitioning into a career as a serious painter, he would focus on the landscape and nature, and always in a style influenced by Asian art and calligraphy. He would sketch in watercolor, and formally compose in oil. Additionally he crafted assemblages in various metals and found objects, and was considered a truly fine craftsman.
He had attended Hobart College and Cornell University, taking a degree in law to please his family. While in school he had become more attracted to art, even serving as the editor and caricature artist for the school's yearbook.
After graduation he became an illustrator for such publications as "Harper's", "Scribner's" and "Collier's" magazines, and after marrying a childhood friend, he traveled to Paris to study formal painting. In 1907 he met Alfred Maurer, another American painter, and the two would begin a lifelong friendship. They met such notables as Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse, who greatly impressed them, and they would dedicate their future painting to working in a similar style of pure color.
By 1909 he had returned to New York where he met Alfred Stieglitz, who in turn introduced Dove into the world of progressive art. By 1912, Stieglitz staged Dove's first solo show as an abstract painter. He was not well received, and began to struggle financially. Within the next few years he would be forced to relocate to Connecticut, his marriage would fail, and he would live a gypsy existence with his new wife until the death of his parents in 1933. From that time on he lived on Long Island Sound, and worked in a condition of poor health until he died in 1946.