Dow “Moon Caught in Tree”
Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922)
American c. 1910
A highly innovative artist and influential teacher, Arthur Wesley Dow felt that art should be created by elements of the composition, like line, mass and color – ideas that were quite revolutionary at the turn of the century. Dow was inspired by the aesthetics of Asian art, as well as the notion of craft promoted by the English Arts and Crafts Movement.
“The Moon Caught in the Tree” is an excellent and well-documented oil by Dow that epitomizes his aesthetic principles and the influence of oriental precedents on his work. Although it depicts a landscape in or around his Ipswich, Massachusetts, home, Dow sees and captures the peace and quiet solitude of an almost Asian genre twilight in the subtle composition. Even the title of the work, “Moon Caught in the Tree” is oriental. The painting was part of Arthur Wesley Dow’s estate. Included in an exhibition at the American Art Galleries and depicted in the catalogue of that show in 1923, it was purchased by Ethelwyn C. Bradish, a teacher at Columbia, on behalf of S. Leigh Call* of Springfield, Illinois, and descended in her family.
An important work by a highly significant American artist, “The Moon Caught in the Tree” is emblematic of Dow’s fascination with Eastern aesthetics. It has an extraordinary provenance, is in good condition and retains its original frame, carved by the renowned artist and craftsman Charles Prendergast.
*Refer to copy of letter from Ethelwyn C. Bradish to S. Leigh Call dated March 29, 1923.