Although Dove is best known for his paintings, in the 1920s he also made many collages, including this one. The work is associational, bringing various items together to construct an abstract portrait of a grandmotherly figure. The fragment of needlepoint and the page of an eighteenth-century concordance, an index of terms in the Bible, evoke the past, as do the dried ferns, reminiscent of the practice of pressing flowers and leaves in an album. The work embodies age and wear, but invokes a fondness for a beloved figure, and the value of everyday scraps and common materials. Dove was a key member of the circle of artists associated with Alfred Stieglitz, whose publications and galleries were a driving force in gaining recognition for American artists during the first half of the twentieth century.
Gallery label from American Modern: Hopper to O'Keeffe, August 17, 2013–January 26, 2014 .