Van Gogh Trees in Our Front Yard

(Left) Tree in front of the house entrance at The Phillips Collection. Photo: Amy Wike. (Right) Vincent van Gogh, Olive Grove, September 1889. Oil on Canvas. Zurich, Private Collection.

Winter strips the trees in the museum’s front yard of their lovely green leaves, but in their bare state, I see an echo of Vincent van Gogh‘s painted olive trees. These unique, corkscrew-branched shrubs are Corylus avellana ‘Contorta,’ commonly known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick. Not quite olive trees, but I see the resemblance all the same.

Amy Wike, Publicity and Marketing Coordinator

Under the Microscope: Primitive Music

Arthur Dove’s Primitive Music (1944) is in the studio for treatment to stabilize flaking paint.

In a diary entry dated May 8, 1944, Arthur Dove describes this painting as a “painting in tempera.”  Often, Dove used a homemade tempera mixture, made from a whole egg, dammar resin, stand oil, and water.  Usually, Dove used tempera for just the first layers of a painting that he then finished with oil paint or wax emulsion.  But in Primitive Music, Dove used the tempera paint on its own, for a smooth, translucent paint film with a velvety, matte surface.

Arthur Dove. Primitive Music, 1944. Gouache on canvas; 18 x 24 in. The Phillips Collection

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