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

Narrator: Davis addressed jazz in this 1957 interview. 

Stuart Davis: Jazz music has always been very important to me, from the time I was a little boy. As soon as I was old enough to go around to places where they played it, which to put it briefly was saloons, and more specifically negro saloons, well I went there. To listen. For no other reason except that I liked it. And this enthusiasm and response for jazz has continued without interruption to the present day. 

And in regard to its effect on my painting, I would say that it’s been a continuous source of inspiration in my work, from the very beginning. For the simple reason that I regard it as the one American art, up until now, which seemed to me to have the same quality of art without ulterior motive that I found in modern European painting. And I always quite naturally equated the two as a source of real art. Even though the conditions under which it is made and the purpose for which it is used, I mean jazz, are very different from that of painting.