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. 

Narrator: On this wall, you’ll see four works with very similar compositions. Davis made them all during one very intense year. A stipend from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney—the founder of the Whitney Museum—allowed him to focus on nothing but painting. He narrowed in on three objects: an egg beater, a rubber glove, and a fan. 

Barbara Haskell: The Eggbeater Series is based really on the cubist idea of fragmentation and that one can see an object from different points of view, different aspects of an object. 

Narrator: Davis used his limited subject to rich effect. Take a moment to compare this painting to the one Davis made right before it, Egg Beater No. 3. It’s to the left. 

Mark Joshua Epstein: If you let your eye go back and forth between Egg Beater No. 3 and Egg Beater No. 4, you realize that the structures of the paintings are distinctly similar, but there are a bunch of differences. If we focus in on this kind of ochre-gold shape that is on the bottom right of both paintings, in Egg Beater No. 3, the horizontals are actually horizontals. We are led to a corner that makes more or less sense. And if we look at No. 4, we’re led up and out. 

For me, Egg Beater No. 3 is lighter; it’s more open. But at the same time, it’s less vibrant. He’s desaturated a bunch of the colors by adding a little bit of gray, and a little bit of the complement to them. On the right, because we get these pops against the darker blue and the darker green, everything is singing a little bit more shrilly.