The interpretation of Portraiture: Arthur Dove and the Examination of Portrait


During the 1920s, Arthur Dove made a series of Collage portraits of the people close to him. One of these pieces was of his close friend and colleague Alfred Stieglitz, Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz (1924) which was of a 16” by 12” piece featuring a Lens and Mirrored glass on cardboard that resembled the back of a large format camera (1), which coincides with Stieglitz’s photography, and of whom was known for taking photo portraits of several members of the New York arts community.


Alfred Stieglitz’s influence on the American Arts went past his promotion of the artwork, and looking into Portrait of Stieglitz as well as Arthur Dove’s other works at the time shows the influence between the two artists and the changes that portraits were making during the time. Arthur Dove has a history of absorbing and interpreting the artwork that he is surrounded with, starting with the abstract work during his time in France, influenced by Piccaso (2). 


With the combination of influences accumulated by Arthur Dove at the time of this piece being made, including the work and friendship and professional support that Alfred Stieglitz provided, Arthur Dove was able to explore new modes of art making to explore and alter the view of a portrait, looking at both what it means to be a portrait, and what is needed to describe someone visually. 




Works Consulted