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), Memo #2, 1956. Oil on canvas, 24 x 32 in. (61 x 81.3 cm). Private collection. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Narrator: Throughout this exhibition, there are families of paintings—groups that treat composition as a process of theme and variation that might take place over decades. This painting, Memo, is the fourth version of a composition that Davis first devised in 1930s.

Harry Cooper: We think of modern artists as always looking for something new, trying to be original, wanting to innovate. That's what we value about modern art, but there's always a pull in the other direction, a pull of tradition. Davis studied art of the past, especially the great modern masters of the last couple of generations behind him. He also studied his own work, and I think he became his own master in a way. The process of recycling his own work was the means by which he was able to move ahead.

Narrator: To take a close look at the development of these four paintings, please find the earliest one—it’s a black-and-white composition called Landscape. Then tap the button on your screen.