Stuart Davis American, 1892-1964


“He had his own raw sense of touch and saturated color and his own faith that the American landscape could direct him toward a particularly American brand of modernism.”

–Roberta Smith

Stuart Davis' legacy of symphonic and innovative work draws from a keen interest in European modernism at an early age and later infused with representations of social and political life as Davis experienced it; his oeuvre creating a lasting impact on our perception of 'modern' art in America.


The 1913 Armory Show proved an incendiary moment for American modernism and for Davis, where he ranked amongst the youngest participants exhibiting. Exposure to the riotous Cubist and Fauvist examples at The Armory Show encouraged Davis' explorations into the avant-garde, and he began to create his own distinct language of modernist construction, which became increasingly more abstract over time.


As Davis began to incorporate themes of jazz and advertising into his work, his distillation of recognizable objects and inclusion of an American vernacular became flatter, bolder and more colorful, gradually contributing to the mature style for which Davis is perhaps best known on a global stage today: a synthesis of proto-pop techniques and a visual geometry all his own. The essence of Davis' work is his invitation to us to join in on this new way of seeing familiar forms: abstracted, their boundaries pushed but never too far out of reach.