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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Dove of the Inner Eye

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Dove of the Inner Eye


Morris Graves

born Fox Valley, Oregon, 1910; died Loleta, California, 2001

In a visceral image of utter hopelessness, a dove, the emblematic bird of peace, sees the promising light of day reaching into its subterranean hideout and is drawn to it. The bird is unaware, however, that a treacherous snake lurks close by in its refuge and is poised to strike.

Opaque watercolor on oiled paper
20 5/8 x 35 3/4 in.
Gift of the Marshall and Helen Hatch Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: The artist; sold to Alfred Barr (1902-1981), New York, 1942; by bequest to his daughter, Victoria Barr, New York, 1981-1983 ; sold to Marshall and Helen Hatch, Seattle, Washington, 1983
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition History{Arts Club Show, 1943}

New York, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Morris Graves Retrospective Exhbition [organized by the Art Galleries of the University of California, Los Angeles], Feb. 28 - Apr. 8, 1956 (Washington, D.C., The Phillips Gallery [The Phillips Collection], Apr. 15 - May 7, 1956; Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, May 19 - June 30, 1956; Des Moines, Iowa, Des Moines Art Center, July 21 - Aug. 26, 1956; San Francisco, California, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum [no dates given]; Los Angeles, California, Art Galleries of the University of California, Los Angeles, Nov. 5 - Dec. 2, 1956; La Jolla, California, Art Center, Dec. 10, 1956 - Jan. 15, 1957; Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Feb. 7 - Mar. 10, 1957). Text by Frederick S. Wight, John I. H. Baur, and Duncan Phillips. No cat. no., p. 17, reproduced [as loan from Private Collection].

Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, Morris Graves: Vision of the Inner Eye , Apr. 9 - May 29, 1983 (Greenville, South Carolina, Greenville County Museum of Art, July 1 - Aug. 28, 1983; New York, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Sept. 15 - Nov. 27, 1983; Oakland, California, The Oakland Museum, Jan. 18 - Mar. 25, 1984; Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Apr. 19 - July 8, 1984; San Diego, California, San Diego Museum of Art, July 24 - Sept. 4, 1984). Text by Rass Kass, et al. Cat. no. 29, reproduced [lent by Victoria Barr].

Carcassone, France, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Carcassone, Seattle Style, traveled June - Aug. 1987 (Perpignan, France, Musée Hyacinthe-Rigaud; Pau, France, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Albi, France, Musée Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; Dunkirk, France, Musée d'Art Contemporain). Not in catalogue.

Tacoma, Washington, Tacoma Art Museum, 100 Years of Washington Art: New Perspectives, Nov. 24, 1989 - Feb. 11, 1990. No catalogue no., p. 11, not reproduced.

Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, Modernism in the Pacific Northwest; the Mythic and the Mystical, June 19-Sept. 7, 2014. Text by Patricia Junker. No cat. no., pp. 21, 54, reproduced pp. 22-23, pl. 10.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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