Arthur Dove/Helen Torr Cottage

Arthur Dove, b 1880- d 1946, Helen Torr, b 1886- d 1967
30 Centershore Road, Centerport, NY 11721 - view on Google Maps
631-351-3250
Originally a post office and general store, this humble cottage was the home of the Modernist artists Arthur Dove and Helen Torr from 1938 until their respective deaths in 1946 and 1967. Located on the banks of picturesque Titus Mill Pond, Centerport, NY, the cottage’s surroundings provided the subject matter – light, wind, water, and sand – for some of Arthur Dove’s and Helen Torr’s most inspired paintings.

ABOUT

Arthur Dove and Helen Torr are the artists most closely associated with the Town of Huntington. Born in New York's Finger Lakes region, Dove gave up law studies to pursue art, initially working as an illustrator before traveling to France in 1907 where he saw the work of the Fauves and Cézanne. Back in the States, he began a long association with Alfred Stieglitz, who exhibited the artist's work at his New York galleries. Beginning about 1920, Dove and his second wife, the artist Helen Torr, lived aboard their yawl Mona, sailing and painting along the Long Island Sound in Huntington, Centerport, Northport, and Lloyd Harbors and wintering at the Ketewomoke Yacht Club in Halesite, NY. In 1934, they moved to Geneva, NY, Dove’s hometown, to settle his mother’s estate, returning to Long Island in 1938, at which time they purchased the small cottage on Titus Mill Pond in Centerport where they lived until the end of their lives.

Dove was one of the earliest artists to paint pure abstractions, developing a non-representational style in the years before the Armory Show. In his "extractions," as he called them, Dove sought to express the essential spirit of nature using simplified forms and colors distilled from the observed landscape. His works powerfully evoke nuances of weather and climate, and his diaries carefully record weather conditions, as well as the day’s activities.

Like Dove, Torr's subjects are abstracted from nature, although her work is characterized by stronger rhythmic, lyrical, and decorative qualities than Dove's. Torr exhibited little during her lifetime, but after her death, her work was brought to the attention of then Heckscher Museum Director Eva Gatling, who mounted an exhibition of the artist’s work, beginning a reappraisal that has restored Torr's place next to Dove’s among America's early modernists.

Did you know...?

Helen Torr was known as “Reds” for her auburn hair.

SPECIAL RESOURCES

The Heckscher Museum of Art holds artwork by Arthur Dove and Helen Torr, including paintings, watercolors, and works on paper, as well as illustrations produced by Dove for popular magazines such as Harper’s, Scribner’s, Collier’s, Century, and The Saturday Evening Post. The Dove/Torr Archive holds additional drawings by Torr and Dove’s sketchbooks, paintbrushes, paints, and pigments. Of special interest is a collection of Dove’s art books including books on technique and color, as well as monographs on El Greco, Velazquez, Hals, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Klee, and several volumes on Cubism and Post Impressionism.

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • The Dove/Torr Cottage is currently under renovation and not open to the public. Visiting scholars may contact The Heckscher Museum of Art director, Michael Schantz, to make arrangements to see the cottage.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
  • Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY