Media File
Stuart Davis
Date: American painter and printmaker, 1894–1964
Biography: Stuart Davis is best known for his colorful, abstract paintings inspired by jazz music and urban life. Davis was born in Philadelphia, to Edward Wyatt Davis, art editor of the Philadelphia Press, and Helen Stuart Davis, a sculptor. His parents' social circle included the Ashcan School painters John Sloan, Robert Henri, Everett Shinn, George Luks, and William Glackens, and Davis started his artistic training young, studying with Henri in New York starting in 1909. His early work reflected his training; he painted city scenes using a dark palette and expressive handing. In 1913, he was one of the youngest painters to exhibit in the Armory Show. The exhibition introduced Davis to the work of European artists including Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. Davis became a committed modernist, and his distinctive style had begun to emerge by the 1920s. In the thirties he painted murals for the Federal Art Project. Politically radical, Davis contributed drawings to The Masses between 1913 and 1916 and to the Liberator in the 1920s, and his journals show his effort to reconcile Marxism and art in the 1930s. Late in his career, Davis taught at the New School for Social Research and Yale University.