Arthur Dove was born in 1880 in Canandaigua, New York. At his father's insistence he initially studied law at Hobart College, and then transferred to Cornell University to study art. In 1903 Dove settled in New York City where he worked as a freelance illustrator.
Dove traveled to Paris in 1908 and was exposed to new artistic ideas by fellow artists and friends, Alfred Maurer and Arthur B. Carles. When he returned to the United States in 1910, he met Alfred Stieglitz and participated in the"Younger American Painters" exhibit at Stieglitz's New York gallery 291. Stieglitz would eventually open "The Intimate Gallery", which held yearly exhibits of Dove's work until the artist's death.
In 1910 Dove moved to Westport, CT where he created a series of pastels known as "Ten Commandments" and "Nature Symbolized", which were exhibited in the 1916 Forum Exhibition of Modern American Painters . Due to financial hardship in 1918, he resumed his career as an illustrator in New York City until 1930 when Duncan Phillips, founder of the Phillips Gallery, began monthly allowances to Dove in exchange for first choice of paintings from his exhibits.
In 1932 Dove married painter Helen ("Reds") Torr, and they lived in Geneva, New York until 1938 when they returned to Centerport, Long Island. In 1939, Dove suffered his first heart attack and was diagnosed with a kidney condition. He continued painting even though ill health and overexertion prevented him from working for days at a time. In 1946 he suffered a second heart attack which left him partially paralyzed, and he died on November 22 of that year.