Tag Archive | Stuart Davis

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Men and Machine

Stuart Davis, Men and Machine
Photo By Gail

Heralded for his abstract visual evocations of jazz, Stuart Davis‘s art also responded profoundly to the industrial age. Men and Machine (1934) features two men standing before a schematically rendered structure with their backs to the viewer. Likely representing a construction site with the foreman and investor looking on, the painting alludes to New York’s interwar construction boom. Highlighting the degree to which industrialism was associated with masculinity, Davis’s painting, consisting of primary colors on a white background, also testifies to the artist’s respect for Piet Mondrian.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Percolator

Percolator
Photo By Gail

Influenced by the Cubist language of flat, overlapping planes and wedges, Stuart Davis (1892 – 1964) used geometric shapes in related colors to create this still life, Percolator (1927). Here, he deconstructs the cylindrical forms of a mass-produced, percolator coffeepot and renders the everyday object both abstract and undefinable. By choosing an industrially produced consumer product as his subject, Davis put a new spin on the spatial innovations of the previous decade’s European avant-garde art movements.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Jefferson Market, New York

Jefferson Market New York
Photo By Gail

During the 1930s, Stuart Davis, who criticized Thomas Hart Benton’s self-consciously American art as inherently xenophobic, and [referred to] the elongated figures in his paintings as dehumanizing caricatures, was one of Benton’s most vocal adversaries. Even so, their art intersected in many ways. Painted in 1930, Jefferson Market depicts the public space and surrounding structures along Sixth Avenue between 10th and Christopher Streets, only two blocks south of the New School’s headquarters. Davis compressed symbols of urban infrastructure into spatially complex, collage-like painting. The looming shadow of a taller skyscraper in the background portends New York’s continual urban transformation, a theme that Benton engaged in the City Building panel of America Today.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum Of Art in NYC.

Stuart Davis, In Full Swing at The Whitney Museum

Report From Rockport
Report From Rockport By Stuart Davis (All Photos By Gail)

Although he passed away when I was only three years old, Stuart Davis is an America painter whose works I’ve completely fallen in love with through seeing them in the permanent collections of The Met, MOMA and The Whitney – the latter of which is currently hosting a career retrospective of Davis’ paintings entitled In Full Swing, which is just mind blowing.

Installation View

If you are a Davis fan, this exhibit is a must-see. If you’re not yet familiar with his work, now is the time to get yourself an education.

Super Table
Super Table

Stuart Davis (1892–1964) was one of the preeminent figures of American modernism. With a long career that stretched from the early twentieth century well into the postwar era, he brought a distinctively American accent to international modernism.

Odol 1924
Odol, 1924

Faced with the choice between realism and pure abstraction early in his career, Davis invented a vocabulary that harnessed the grammar of abstraction to the speed and simultaneity of modern America. By merging the bold, hard-edged style of advertising with the conventions of European avant-garde painting, he created an art endowed with the vitality and dynamic rhythms that he saw as uniquely modern and American. In the process, he achieved a rare synthesis: an art that is resolutely abstract, yet at the same time exudes the spirit of popular culture.

Place Pasdeloup
Place Pasdeloup

The exhibition is unusual in its focus on Davis’ mature career and on his working method of using preexisting motifs as springboards for new compositions. From 1939 on, he rarely painted a work that did not make reference, however hidden, to one or more of his earlier compositions. Such “appropriation” is a distinctive aspect of his mature art.

Installation View

This presentation is the first major exhibition to consistently hang Davis‘ later works side by side with the earlier ones that inspired them. With approximately one hundred works, from his paintings of consumer products in the early 1920s to the work left on his easel at his death in 1964, the exhibition highlights Davis’ unique ability to transform the chaos of everyday life into a structured yet spontaneous order that communicates the wonder and joy that can be derived from the color and spatial relationships of everyday things.

Rue Lipp
Rue Lipp

In Full Swing is divided into five sections covering various periods of Davis‘ career: Product Still Lifes 1921–25, Egg Beaters 1927–28, Paris, New York and Gloucester, The 1930s, The 1940s, The 1950s, and Late Work. The beginning of each section includes engaging biographical information detailing what was going on with Davis at that time, so you will learn a lot about him as a man as well as an artist, and you will be drawn deeply into his unique world.

Installation View

After the Frank Stella retrospective from 2015, this is my favorite exhibit at The Whitney’s new location so far.

Landscape with Clay Pipe
Landscape with Clay Pipe

New York Mural
New York Mural

For Internal Use Only
For Internal Use Only

Something on the 8 Ball
Something on the 8 Ball

The Paris Bit
The Paris Bit

Fin 1962 - 64
Fin, 1962 – 64

Stuart Davis suffered from heart problems and high blood pressure for decades. On June 23, 1964, after watching a French film on television that ended with word “Fin”– which means “The End” — he added the word to the painting on his easel before going to bed. That night, he had a stroke and died in the ambulance on the way to New York’s Roosevelt Hospital. He was 71 years old.

Package Deal
Package Deal

Stuart Davis In Full Swing will Be on Exhibit Through September 25th, 2016 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Located 99 Gansevoort Street in Manhattans Meatpacking District. Get More Information on the Exhibit By Visiting This Link!

Stuart Davis Signage

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gerald Murphy, Cocktail

Cocktail
Photo By Gail

From Wikipedia:

Gerald Clery Murphy (1888 – 1964) and his wife, Sara Sherman Wiborg were wealthy, expatriate Americans who moved to the French Riviera in the early 20th century and who, with their generous hospitality and flair for parties, created a vibrant social circle, particularly in the 1920s, that included a great number of artists and writers including Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Fernand Léger, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Archibald MacLeish, John O’Hara, Cole Porter, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.

While Murphy only painted from 1921 until 1929; he is known for his hard-edged still life paintings in a Precisionist, Cubist style. During the 1920s Gerald Murphy, along with other American modernist painters in Europe, notably Charles Demuth and Stuart Davis created paintings prefiguring the pop art movement that contained pop culture imagery, such as mundane objects culled from American commercial products and advertising design.

During his short career as an artist, Gerald Murphy produced only about fourteen paintings. Key among them is Cocktail, a bold, stylized still life comprised of flattened geometric shapes, overlapping forms, and spatially illogical juxtapositions. A poignant memento of the urban, sophisticated lifestyle of the Jazz Age, the painting’s formal qualities are reminiscent of French Cubism as well as the industrial aesthetic of the American Precisionists. Yet Cocktail is also distinguished by its uniquely autobiographical approach.

The depicted accoutrements of a typical 1920s bar tray were based on Murphy’s memory of his father’s bar accessories, and the five cigars represent the artist, his wife, and their three children. The illusionistic depiction of the box cover, which alone took four months to complete, shows a robed woman surrounded by items that allude to Murphy himself, including a pontoon boat (he was an avid sailor) and an artist’s palette. By celebrating a ritual that was forbidden during Prohibition in America, but which became a distinctive feature of European life during the 1920s, the painting also affirms Murphy’s status as a stylish and worldly expatriate.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis Edison Mazda

Edison Mazda
Photo By Gail

In the early 1920s, in response to the industrial age and increasing consumerism, Stuart Davis began to incorporate commercial goods and advertising graphics into his art. Edison Mazda (1924), with its flattened space and collage-like composition, resembles the Cubist still lifes of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. But rather than portraying pipe racks and candlesticks, Davis includes a contemporary manufactured object: a blue, seventy-five watt light bulb.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Semé

Seme By Stuart Davis
Photo By Gail

To Stuart Davis (1892 – 1964), the French word Semé (Sown), the title of this 1953 painting, connotes lots of things strewn about. The composition presents a lively jumble of variously sized and colored shapes that collide and overlap, creating juxtapositions enhanced by the work’s punchy, discordant palette.

The word “any” evokes equality among all the elements in the picture; “Eydeas” is a fusion of the words “eye” and “ideas.” Davis’s flat, graphic style of painting and the incorporation of text suggest his appreciation of commercial advertising and, thus, his deliberate fusion of “high” and “low” art.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum on Art in NYC.