Stuart Davis: In Full Swing

Solo en Inglès

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. 

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Little Giant Still Life, 1950. Oil on canvas, 33 x 43 in. (83.8 x 109.1 cm). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; The John Barton Payne Fund 50.8. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Stuart Davis: Well this first “Champion,” called Little Giant Still Life, that was made from a—I just had a package of paper matches on the table alongside of me. And I made a drawing without any intention of doing anything with it; I just drew, looking at this package of matches. It had the word “champion” on it. And it seemed interesting, so I just drew it on a canvas and made, developed it from there on, without reference to any matches or anything like that. 

Barbara Haskell: It was the first time he had really elevated words to a position of prominence. 

He begins to invest color with spatial properties, so he very much controls the properties of color to advance and recede so that there's a back and forth motion in all of his pictures, but they nevertheless stay very much on the surface, so that the paintings are perceived in a single glance, and he was very conscious that a single impression painting was what he wanted to create which, of course, is what advertising does.

He's very much considered the father of Pop art, but was always very different. Pop artists generally, Pop painters use two dimensional media images. Davis never did that. He was not concerned about commenting on culture or consumer society.

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