Spring Dance

Media - 1982.126 - SAAM-1982.126_1 - 67357
Copied Arthur F. Mathews, Spring Dance, ca. 1917, oil on canvas, 51 7847 58 in. (131.7121.0 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David J. Carlson, 1982.126
Free to use

Artwork Details

Spring Dance
ca. 1917
51 7847 58 in. (131.7121.0 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David J. Carlson
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Performing arts — music — flute
  • Performing arts — dance
  • Landscape — plain
  • Figure group
Object Number

Artwork Description

Arthur Mathews led a group of progressive Californians who believed that fine art and design served the public good. After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, he and his wife, Lucia, also a designer, led the effort to rebuild the city's fine public spaces. The pastoral scene in Spring Dance resembles civic-minded murals created for museums, libraries, and concert halls at the turn of the twentieth century. But Mathews had more on his mind than ancient Greece or Rome. His Arcadia is the luminous landscape of California, and the planes of color and the graceful postures of the dancers show the artist is looking across the Pacific to Japan. The ornate frame is a reproduction of the original. It repeats the colors in the painting, reflecting Mathews's commitment to designing furniture, art, and architecture to create an aesthetic whole.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006