Stuart Davis: In Full Swing Audio Guide Playlist
Hear commentary by Curator Barbara Haskell who organized this exhibition with Harry Cooper from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and Assistant Curator Sarah Humphreville, along with the jazz pianist Ben Sidran and archival interviews with Stuart Davis himself.
Narrator: The cigarettes, pipe, matches, and newspaper in this still life all angle subtly away from the picture plane. The resulting space feels very shallow—almost flat, but with just enough sense of depth to create a sense of visual energy. Davis first discovered this kind of space in Cubist works on view at the 1913 Armory Show—the exhibition where most American artists first encountered European Modernism.
Davis spent much of the next decade exploring this visual vocabulary, finally making it his own in the 1920s—in part by focusing on elements of American popular culture, like Lucky Strike cigarettes. And even when he drew on some of the Cubists’ favorite subjects—like the newspaper—Davis gave them his own spin.
Mark Joshua Epstein: We know that Davis worked for a couple of years for a leftwing magazine called The Masses in the early 1910s, and that he was responsible for doing illustrations.
Narrator: Mark Joshua Epstein is a painter and an Educator at the Whitney.
Mark Joshua Epstein: And we also hear that he bristled against having people write captions for his illustrations. So in this painting what’s hilarious to me is that he’s taken on the role of both the illustrator and the caption writer, but the captions have become these abstract brush strokes.
Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Lucky Strike, 1924. Oil on paperboard, 18 x 24 in. (45.6 x 60.9 cm). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photograph by Cathy Carver
- 500 Introduction to Stuart Davis: In Full Swing
- 501 Stuart Davis, Lucky Strike, 1924
- 503 Stuart Davis, Edison Mazda, 1924
- 504 Stuart Davis, Super Table, 1924
- 505 Stuart Davis, Egg Beater No. 4, 1928
- 506 Stuart Davis, Rue Lipp, 1928
- 507 Stuart Davis, House and Street, 1931
- 508 Stuart Davis, New York Mural, 1932
- 5092 Stuart Davis, Swing Landscape, 1938 — Level 2
- 510 Stuart Davis, Mural for Studio B, WNYC, Municipal Broadcasting Company, 1939
- 511 Stuart Davis, The Mellow Pad, 1945-51
- 513 Stuart Davis, Little Giant Still Life, 1950
- 514 Stuart Davis, Owh! In San Pao, 1951
- 515 Stuart Davis, Rapt at Rappaport’s, 1951-52
- 516 Stuart Davis, Memo #2, 1956
- 5162 Stuart Davis, Memo #2, 1956 — Level 2
- 5163 Stuart Davis, Memo #2, 1956 — Level 3
- 517 Stuart Davis, Premiere, 1957
- 518 Stuart Davis, American Painting, 1932/42-54
- 519 Stuart Davis, Fin, 1962-64
- 509 Stuart Davis, Swing Landscape, 1938
- 512 Stuart Davis, Colonial Cubism, 1954