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), Swing Landscape, 1938. Oil on canvas, 86 3/4 x 173 1/8 in. (220.3 x 400 cm). Indiana University Art Museum; allocated by the U.S. Government, commissioned through the New Deal Art Projects. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Stuart Davis: I must say that in the major part of my career, when I wanted inspiration from American art, I went to jazz music.

Narrator: In Swing Landscape, Davis openly declared one of his greatest loves, jazz. The composition is vibrant and rhythmic, patterns seeming to dance across its surface. Davis did depict some identifiable objects, most of them inspired by the fishing boats around Gloucester, Massachusetts—one of his favorite subjects. But he painted the spaces between the objects using equally intense hues. As a result, the individual parts play into the whole like instruments in big band jazz.

If you’d like to hear more of what Davis had to say about jazz, please tap the button on your screen.