Summer Cactus

Accession Number

Summer Cactus

Eduardo Arcenio Chavez

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

18 ⅛ in x 26 in (46.04 cm x 66.04 cm);24 in x 32 in x 3 ½ in (60.96 cm x 81.28 cm x 8.89 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Jean Paul Slusser

Label copy
President's House object Summary
Chavez was born in New Mexico and spent his childhood in Colorado, where his family worked as sheep ranchers and farm laborers. In school his intreset in art was encouraged by teachers. Although Chavez apprenticed to an artist in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and studied for a short time at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, he considered himself to be largely self-taught. During the 1930s he excuted a number of murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Chaves served as a War Art Correspondent during World War II and completed several murals for the Army during his service. After being discharged he settled in Woodstock, NY, and has taught and exhibited widely.
First travelling to Mexico in 1954, Chavez also traveled extensively through Europe and spent summers camping in the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest. Also a sculptor and printmaker, he began painting abstractly only in the 1950s and 1960s. In this work, probably painted on one of his summer trips, Chavez uses geometric forms to define the cactus and its surrounding landscape. The artist's interest is in the two-dimensional space of the canvas: lines break up the pictorial space and enliven the forms, emphasizing the flat painting surface rather than any representation of spatial depth. The subject's sharpness and angularity is also suggested through the use of line and the overlapping placement of the forms.
(Agnes Miner)

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.


& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved