Boats at Rest

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Arthur Wesley Dow
American, 1857-1922

Boats at Rest, c. 1895

Oil on canvas
66 x 91.4 cm (26 x 36 in.)
Signed, lower left: "Arthur W. Dow"
Through prior acquisition of the Charles H. and Mary F.S. Worcester Collection, 1990.394

In 1891 Arthur Wesley Dow began to engage seriously with the aesthetics of Japanese art, evident in his own prints and oil paintings. In works such as Boats at Rest, he depicted locales around his native Ipswich, Massachusetts, using the radical cropping, elevated perspective, and flattened pictorial space characteristic of ukiyo-e prints. His palette of bold colors, however, is more akin to the work of French Nabi artists such as Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin. Dow’s Japanese-inspired theories of composition, which he outlined both in his publications and in the classes he taught at the Ipswich Summer School of Art and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, were immensely influential to Art and Crafts designers working in both two and three dimensions.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Chicago, Terra Museum of American Art "Arthur Wesley Dow and The American Arts and Crafts Movement" Oct. 8, 1999-Jan. 7, 2000.

Art Institute of Chicago, "Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago," November 7, 2009-January 31, 2010, cat. 37.

Publication History

The Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 1990–1991 (Art Institute of Chicago, 1991), p. 16, fig. 10.

Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 289-91, no. 146.

Ownership History

Private collection, New England, to 1990; Spanierman Gallery, New York, 1990; sold to The Art Institute of Chicago, 1990.