Art: Prophet and Poet of the Abstract

"I would like to make something that is real in itself, that does not remind anyone of any other thing, and that does not have to be explained—like the letter A for instance." Thus one of America's first abstract painters, Arthur Dove, set up his version of the modernist hope. To visit the traveling retrospective show of 70 Dove paintings and collages that Art Historian Barbara Haskell organized for the San Francisco Museum of Art (it opens this week at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo) is to sense how difficult that ambition must...

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