Richard A. Scudamore ’55 has donated a watercolor painting, titled Switch Engine, by noted 20th century artist Arthur Dove to The Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A generous contributor to the Colleges, Scudamore has previously donated a number of paintings from American artists, including two other watercolors by Dove.
“The Switch Engine was produced while Dove was in Geneva in 1937,” says Anna Wager, the Clarence A. Davis ’48 Visual Arts Curator. “It is a sensitive rendering of an industrial object. This train could have been one that passed behind the Dove Block on Exchange Street, and bringing that piece of Geneva back to Geneva is really exciting. Mr. Scudamore’s gifts of Arthur Dove watercolors to the HWS art collection have been instrumental in building our modernist holdings.”
Dove was a member of the Hobart class of 1903 before receiving his undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He spent his early years in Geneva and worked in a studio in the Dove Block, which was built by his father, a successful brick manufacturer. The paintings Dove created when he moved back to Geneva in the 1930s, following a period in France, often feature subjects found in Geneva or in the surrounding Finger Lakes area.
Dove’s reputation as one of the most important painters of the American 20th century has grown steadily since his death in 1946. He is considered one of the first Americans to work in the modernist tradition as well as the first American abstract painter. His work is found in most major museums, including the Metropolitan and Whitney in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Dove is remembered at HWS through the Arthur Dove ’03 Art Award, established in 1980 by William B. Carr. The award is used to purchase a work of art created by a student at the Colleges and chosen from the Student Art and Architecture Exhibition, held every spring in the Davis Gallery.
Scudamore earned his B.S. degree in biology and chemistry at Hobart College. Upon graduating, he completed a three-year ROTC commitment before moving to California to pursue a career in real estate. He currently lives in Newport Beach, Calif. Scudamore’s previous gifts to HWS include Dove’s St. Peter’s and Happy Clamshell.