Stuart Davis

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Admired for his wit, artistic independence, and brilliant use of color, Stuart Davis is regarded as one of the finest interwar modernists and a prodigy.

Born in Philadelphia in 1892, Davis is known by many art historians as the American painter most influenced by Cubism.  Art historian Norman Geske described Davis’ career as a “near classical demonstration of the process by which American painting of the twentieth century came of age.”  Davis moved from journalistic illustration to Social Realism, to Expressionism, to Cubism, ultimately becoming one of America’s leading Abstractionists.  Strongly influenced by Fernand Leger and the New York Armory Show of 1912, which he was in at a young age, he developed his own unique style of Cubism, which also incorporated Realism.

The son of artist parents who met as students at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he found his place amid the currents of twentieth-century American art earlier than some of his peers.  Among his first art-world mentors were the artists known as The Eight, including Robert Henri and John Sloan.  His first major exhibition was in 1927, and venues included the Phillips Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Whitney Museum in New York.

A 1998 retrospective of his work was organized by curators of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and its last venue was The National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.

2015         American and European Masters – Art of the 19th-20th Centuries