Skip to main content

Arthur Dove: Works on Paper exhibition records

Identifier: IR-CUR-026

Scope and Contents

Arthur Dove: Works on Paper features a selection of 33 works on paper by Arthur Dove primarily from Washington‘s public and private collections. It includes examples of Dove‘s earliest watercolor studies from the late 1920s, his animated line and wash drawings from the 1930s, and his multi-media paintings of the 1940s.

These curatorial records were collected and created in the course of researching, planning, and executing the exhibition. The exhibition opened at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. on October 7, 1997 and continued until January 7, 1998.

The primary creators of the catalogue and exhibition planning records in this collection were Beth Turner, Senior Curator, and Elsa Smithgall, Curatorial Assistant.

The collection consists of the research and exhibition planning files of the curators interfiled. These records consist of research materials assembled and exhibition planning and execution documents such as legal and financial records, lender files (restricted), schedules, and checklists (restricted).


  • 1910 - 1998
  • Usage: The material in this collection were used in preparation for the 1997 exhibition.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection includes restricted material.

Biographical / Historical

The American artist Arthur Dove, among the first artists to have produced an abstract painting, has always occupied a central place in writings on early American modernism. Duncan Phillips, the founder of The Phillips Collection, was Dove‘s primary patron from 1926 onward. Phillips held the first retrospective of Dove‘s work in 1937. In 1947, as a tribute to the artist just five months after his death, Phillips organized a second retrospective of his paintings. The Phillips Collection owns fifty-four paintings by Dove and has extensive correspondence between painter and patron. Arthur Dove: Works on Paper showcases Arthur Dove‘s use of a wide variety of materials and techniques as well as the extent of Dove‘s inspiration.


.8 Linear Feet (2 full legal boxes)

Language of Materials



Arthur Dove: Works on Paper was a one-gallery exhibition held in conjunction with Arthur Dove: A Retrospective. The exhibition records contain materials created and collected by the Curatorial Department of The Phillips Collection during the course of organizing the exhibition. Included are research and exhibition planning files.


Series 1: Research 1910-1997 Series 1 consists of research materials assembled in planning the catalogue and exhibition. Files are arranged chronologically. Series 2: Exhibition Planning 1997-1998 This series is arranged alphabetically. Included are two sub-series: Sub-Series 2.1: Planning documents Sub-Series 2.2: Lender files

Custodial History

This collection is owned by The Phillips Collection and was accessioned from the curators' offices.

Processing Information

The collection contains exhibition-related records from two curators‘ offices, resulting in a significant amount of duplicate documents. After meeting with the librarian and curator, duplicate documents were weeded as well as materials with no informational or evidential value. When different drafts of contracts and checklists were found, the decision was made to retain the signed or most recent copy of each contract or checklist. Folders containing restricted material were marked with a red dot. Boxes containing restricted folders were also marked with a red dot. The lender files were arranged alphabetically.

The Research Series has maintained original order and is housed chronologically. More extensive research may be found in the Arthur Dove: A Retrospective exhibition files located in The Phillips Collection Archives. There are two sub-series in the Exhibition Planning series: planning documents and lender files.

Metal paperclips and staples were removed and replaced with plastic clips. Adhesive Post-it® notes were copied if necessary, otherwise removed. Folder headings were maintained, but were re-written in some cases for greater clarity and accuracy. All documents were re-foldered in acid-free folders, labeled in pencil and boxed in Hollinger low-lignin (pH 8.5-10.0) boxes.

Arthur Dove: Works on Paper exhibition records, 1910-1998
The Phillips Collection Library and Archives 1600 21st Street NW Washington D.C. 20009
Finding Aid written by Heather Meixler, Library and Archives Assistant in November 2008, supervised by Karen Schneider, Librarian.
November 2008
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Phillips Collection Archives Repository

1600 21st St. NW
Washington DC 20009 United States