"I paint what I see in America, in other words I paint the American Scene."


Stuart Davis (1892–1964), was an early American modernist painter. He was well known for his Jazz influenced, proto pop art paintings of the 1940s and 1950s, bold, brash, and colorful. He was also known for his works portraying scenes of daily life in New York in the early years of the 20th century.

 Stuart Davis grew up in an artistic environment, for his father was art director of a Philadelphia newspaper. He studied with Robert Henri 1910-13, made covers and drawings for the social realist periodical The Masses, which was associated with the Ashcan School, and exhibited watercolors in the Armory Show, which made an overwhelming impact on him. After a visit to Paris in 1928-29 he introduced a new note into US Cubism, basing himself on its Synthetic rather than its Analytical phase. Using natural forms, particularly forms suggesting the characteristic environment of American life, he rearranged them into flat poster-like patterns with precise outlines and sharply contrasting colors.

He later went over to pure abstract patterns, into which he often introduced lettering, suggestions of advertisements, posters, etc. The zest and dynamism of such works reflect his interest in jazz. Davis is generally considered to be the outstanding American artist to work in a Cubist idiom. He made witty and original use of it and created a distinctive American style, for however abstract his works became he always claimed that every image he used had its source in observed reality.


"Visa" (1951) Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 132.1 cm - 40 x 52 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

"New York Waterfront" (1938)

"Egg Beater No. 4" (1928) Oil on canvas, 68.9 x 97.1 cm - 27 1/8 x 38 1/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., USA.

"Mellow Pad" (1945-51)

"Lucky Strike" (1924) Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., USA.

"Blue Café" (1928) Oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm - 18 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., USA.

Text source: 'Webmuseum' ( and others.

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Pop Art, Cubism.


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