Arthur Wesley Dow

PhotographerClarence White

CountryUnited States



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Artists, Beards, Men of Mark, Portrait: Men


Image Dimensions: 22.1 x 16.6 cm waxed platinum print
Support Dimensions: unmounted

This striking portrait, a vintage waxed platinum print of the American painter, printmaker and arts educator Arthur Wesley Dow, (1857-1922) was believed taken around 1908 by his fellow Columbia University Teachers College colleague Clarence H. White. Titled Portrait of an Artist, c. 1908, the image appears full page in the volume Clarence H. White: The Reverence for Beauty, published in 1986 by the Ohio University Gallery of Fine Art. (p. 55) At this time, three other versions of this portrait by Clarence White are also known to exist in the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum: 1. mounted waxed platinum print; 2. mounted platinum print; 3. mounted and framed platinum print: a copy made by American photographer Herbert Arthur Hess.


The example seen on this website, which at one time had been mounted, is of the same dimensions (22.1 x 16.6 cm) as Princeton’s example listed as 1/3. Provenance for this portrait is also intriguing: it was found and purchased in May, 2017 by this archive from an heir to the estate of American artist Charles James Martin. (1886-1955) An excerpt of a description by this heir to Martin’s significance:


Martin studied with Arthur Wesley Dow, and later taught alongside him at Columbia University Teachers College. At TC, he also studied photography with Clarence H. White, and became an instructor at White’s School of Photography in 1918. Martin began teaching at the Art Students League of New York in 1921. At Teacher’s College, Georgia O’Keeffe attended his class in 1914-1915.


A small yellowed 1922 obituary notice for Dow was included with the sale of this portrait from an unknown newspaper:


Prof. A.W. Dow, Expert in Japanese Art, Dead


Prof. Arthur Wesley Dow, head of the department of Fine Arts at Teachers College, Columbia University, who died suddenly last Wednesday, was the first man to introduce the Japanese wood block method into the methods of this country. Prof. Dow had been in charge of the art department at Teachers College for the last eighteen years.

For several years he was curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and prior to coming to Teachers College he was instructor of art at Pratt Institute. He was awarded medals at the Buffalo, Pan-American and Panama-Pacific Expositions for his work. He contributed many magazine articles on art, and was the author of several books. Prof. Dow was a member of the Copley Society, the Society of Arts and Crafts, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, of the Japanese Society and many other artists’ organizations.



print notes, verso: Notated in graphite in known hand of Charles James Martin: Prof. Arthur Dow; small losses to upper left and right corners where print had formerly been attached to primary support; print perhaps printed later up to 1920- possibly used as teaching aid by Martin given multiple examples held by Princeton and known copy by Hess?

Arthur Wesley Dow