Owh! in San Pao
Not on view
Oil on canvas
Overall: 52 3/16 × 42in. (132.6 × 106.7 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase
Rights and reproductions
© Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The quintessential painter of the modern urban scene, Stuart Davis found inspiration in billboards, signs, storefronts, and jazz rhythms. Translating developments in vanguard European art into an American vernacular, he also anticipated the pictorial concerns of Pop art, especially its appropriation of imagery from consumer culture. Owh! In San Paõ, a frenetic mix of everyday objects, words, and chromatic energy, was based on a painting of a coffee pot Davis made over twenty years earlier. In this later variation, he retained the original subject, reducing the coffee pot to a cylinder, and added the words “else,” “used to be,” and “now,” referring perhaps to the temporal gap between the two pictures.