STUART DAVIS (1892-1964) A MAJOR AMERICAN MODERNIST TO EMERGE BETWEEN THE TWO WORLD WARS. HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY CUBISM AND EUROPEAN MODERNISM HIS ABSTRACT IMAGES WOULD LATER INFLUENCE POPULAR AND MASS CULTURE AND HAVE A DIRECT BEARING ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF POP ART WHICH EMERGED IN THE LATE 1960’s: PART 2

32640403

3691a7d5-a665-444d-a0e1-7659a0ffdfbd_jpgportrait

In the second part of my investigation into Stuart Davis I will consider the expert commentary of Ann Lee Morgan in her Oxford Concise History of American art and artists.

” The most important American painter to emerge between the world wars. He (Davis) inherited a cosmopolitan and strikingly modern idiom attuned to American life”. [1].

“Davis’s bright semi-abstract compositions derive from Cubism , the rhythms of these syncopated ensembles echo with his enthusiasm  for jazz”. [2].

Morgan continues to describe Davis’s iconography as well as subjects used in some of his work.

” Their iconography reflects the vernacular Landscape , ranging from urban commercial culture to traditional New England villages”. [3].

” He actively participated in 1930’s politics taught for a decade at the new school for social research and wrote broadmindedly about art”. [4].

imagespop   

tumblr_ljpnc8beq71qzvb1bo1_400 

imagest9ilycgn

stuartdavis9

stuartdavis4

stuart-davis-landscape-with-blue-houses

3801383273_95a257dd2c_b

Morgan argues that Davis had an idealist view of the World constructed around his own subjective idealist method. He therefore rejected the Realist art of social realism , a Stalinist art current at the time.

” He emphasized that paintings posses their own reality and should not be expected top mirror the physical world”. [5].

” Already working as a magazine illustrator , In the same year (1913) he joined the staff of the Masses where John Sloan (The great American Social realist) served as Editor. after summers spent in Province town on Cape Cod where he became an addict of the New England coast”. [6].

Morgan goes on to describe his future activity after the Masses folded in the early thirties.

” After he left the masses in 1916 Davis’s early (Ashcan style reminiscent of the Realist art founded by Robert Henri) gradually gave way to modern impulses as he experimented with un naturalistic colour , odd viewpoints and painterly extremes”. [7].

” Davis began an apprenticeship to Cubism starting with a series of highly original still life paintings. These forecast his mature style in their combinations of flattened fragmented design and mundane subjects”. [8].

56bf84efb9df8b40382cbd1dcc1fbbb2

stuart-davis-theatre-on-the-beach

davis9-11-09-12

1955_5-web

a-self-portrait-1919-19172-20091128-438

untitled-stuart

images-sd

13658672_1340307449313522_1754923876_n

52_2_davis_imageprimacy_1872_1140_1140

Socialist Poster During the Spanish Civil War

Morgan continues with her commentary concentrating on his move towards Cubism and abstraction leading of course in the 1960’s to Lichenstein , Warhol and Hamilton.

” Lucky strike he emblazoned the name of the cigarette , along with other words and numbers adapted from its packaging .Although the image is painted it resembles Cubist collage”. [9].

” Resolving in 1927 to paint only an electric Fan , a rubber glove and the egg beater he achieved a personal analysis of cubist form”. [10].

Morgan describes his sojurn in Paris and other European cities.

“In 1928 he left for 14th months in Paris  where he delighted in interpreting the City with formal and expressive range that forecasts his later more intricate style”. [11].

” Indicating the depth of his commitment to social issues , after his permanent return to New York, he soon focused on art-related political work. in 1934 he was elected President of the Artists Union and in 1935-6 he edited the Art Journal ART FRONT”. [12].

stuart-davis-country-life

garage-no-1-1917_jpgpinterestsmall

davis_townsquare1929

stuart-davis-landscape-with-drying-sails

images-art-etc

images-stuart-davis

160620_r28304-1200x848-1465484420

Morgan continues describing Davis’s art work during the Middle 1930’s.

” For many months in 1935 he worked with a few other artists toward the establishment the following year of the American Artists Congress which he led as National Secretary  and Chairman until his resignation over policy issues in 1940″. [13].

” Davis’s most exhilarating work of the 1930’s (1938 Swing Landscape) , this notorious conglomeration of poster like shapes both abstract and representational celebrates American life”. [14].

Morgan concludes with the following comments about the Work of Stuart Davis.

” Shapes and vivid colours lifted from both commercial culture and the natural landscape combine in a rambunctious visually stimulated frenzy”. [15].

” No other American work so vividly and directly represented a living work from the early days of American Modernism to post war interest in in large scale abstraction and in imagery originating in Popular Culture”. [16].

This concludes my article on Stuart Davis one of the Most Important Modernists to emerge in the 20th Century.

FOOTNOTES

  1. THE OXFORD CONCISE HISTORY DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN ART AND ARTISTS ANN LEE MORGAN: PG.111
  2. DITTO.PG.112
  3. DITTO.PG.112
  4. DITTO.PG.112
  5. DITTO.PG.112
  6. DITTO.PG.112
  7. DITTO.PG.112
  8. DITTO.PG.112
  9. DITTO.PG.112
  10. DITTO.PG.112
  11. DITTO.PG.112
  12. DITTO.PG.112
  13. DITTO.PG.112
  14. DITTO.PG.112
  15. DITTO.PG.112
  16. DITTO.PG.112

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s