At the turn of the twentieth century, Arthur Wesley Dow literally “wrote the book” on composition—and this is it! Dow’s Composition exercised an enormous influence on emerging modern artists of a century ago. A thought-provoking examination of the nature of visual representation, it remains ever-relevant to all the visual arts.
A well-known painter and printmaker, Dow taught for many years at Columbia University and acted as a mentor to countless young artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe. His text, presented in a workbook format, offers teachers and students a systematic approach to composition. It explores the creation of freely constructed images based on harmonic relations between lines, colors, and dark and light patterns. The author draws upon the traditions of Japanese art to discuss a theory of “flat” formal equilibrium as an essential component of pictorial creation. Practical and well-illustrated, this classic guide offers valuable insights into modern design.