GENEVA — A graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges has brought another work by renowned 20th century artist Arthur Dove back to Geneva.
Richard Scudamore, a 1955 graduate of HWS, has donated a fourth watercolor painting by Dove. It has been added to The Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
“The Old Brick Plant,” produced in 1937, is “Dove’s interpretation of his father’s former brick plant located just outside Geneva,” said Anna Wager, the Colleges’ visual arts curator. The image depicts an abstracted red-rust brick plant, three undulating black vertical lines and a landscape of muted greens and browns. The plant sat on the site of what is now the Geneva Industrial Park.
Dove was a member of the Hobart class of 1903 before receiving his undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He spent his early years in Geneva and worked in a studio in the Dove Block, which was built by his father, a successful brick manufacturer. The paintings Dove created when he moved back to Geneva in the 1930s, following a period in France, often feature subjects found in Geneva or in the surrounding Finger Lakes area.
His work in Geneva, created on the third floor of the Dove Block, is considered the most creative of his career.
The Dove Block is currently being renovated with help from a number of state grants.
“The addition of this fourth watercolor means that we now have a concentrated focus on Dove’s work in Geneva in the 1930s,” said Wager. The Colleges’ collection includes three other Dove watercolors, all donated by Scudamore: St. Peter’s, Happy Clamshell and Switch Engine.
Dove’s reputation as one of the most important painters of the American 20th century has grown steadily since his death in 1946. He is considered one of the first Americans to work in the modernist tradition as well as the first American abstract painter. His work is found in most major museums, including the Metropolitan and Whitney in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
“Dove’s painting style is abstract but also grounded in this specific location,” said Wager. “Spending time engaging with it shows how layered and nuanced his works are and what they can tell us about Geneva, both in the 1930s and now.”
Dove is remembered at HWS through the Arthur Dove ’03 Art Award, established in 1980 by William B. Carr. The award is used to purchase a works of art created by students at the Colleges and chosen from the Student Art and Architecture Exhibition, held every spring in the Davis Gallery.
Scudamore earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry at Hobart College. Upon graduating, he completed a three-year ROTC commitment before moving to California to pursue a career in real estate. He lives in Newport Beach, Calif.