Stuart Davis


Stuart Davis Biography

1892 - 1964

Stuart Davis was a painter and printmaker whose works incorporated influences from realism and European modernism. Born in Philadelphia, Davis dropped out of high school to study art under Robert Henri from 1909 to 1912. His first works were made in a realist style, and included illustrations for left-wing periodicals The Masses and The Liberator. After the 1913 Armory Show introduced European avant-garde styles to America, Davis began to explore Post-Impressionist and Cubist styles. 

In the 1920s, Davis began painting products such as packages of tobacco or mouthwash using the bright colors and simplified shapes of Synthetic Cubism. After spending 1928 in France painting café scenes in a realist style, Davis returned to America where he was active in a number of organizations dedicated to protecting the creative freedom and economic interests of artists. His works from the 1930s were strongly influenced by jazz music, featuring vibrant geometric compositions that recalled the syncopated rhythms of traditional jazz.  After World War II, Davis created abstract paintings featuring dense, “all-over” compositions that shared certain similarities to Abstract Expressionism.

As a printmaker, Davis created only 27 prints, most of which are lithographs. He created his first prints while in Paris in the late 1920s and upon returning to America in 1931 he continued working in this medium on a limited scale.