Stuart Davis at the Whitney

Davis is best known, and rightly esteemed, for his later, tightly composed, hyperactive, flag-bright pictures, with crisp planes and emphatic lines, loops, and curlicues, often featuring gnomic words (“champion,” “pad,” “else”) and almost always incorporating his signature as a dashing pictorial element. Their musical rhythms and buttery textures appeal at a glance. If the works had a smell, it would be like that of a factory-fresh car—an echt American aura, from the country’s post-Second World War epoch of dazzling manufacture and soaring optimism. Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker Magazine

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Owh! in San Pao, 1951. Oil on canvas, 52 3/16 x 42 in. (132.6 x 106.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 52.2  © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York
Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Owh! in San Pao, 1951. Oil on canvas, 52 3/16 × 42 in. (132.6 × 106.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 52.2  © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Rue Lipp, 1928. Oil on canvas, 32 × 39 in. (81.3 × 99.1 cm). Michael and Fiona Scharf. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York
Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Rue Lipp, 1928. Oil on canvas, 32 × 39 in. (81.3 × 99.1 cm). Michael and Fiona Scharf. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed byVAGA, New York

Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Town Square, c. 1929. Watercolor, gouache, ink, and pencil on paper, 15 1/2 × 22 7/8 in. (39.4 × 58.1 cm). The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; purchase 1930, The General Fund. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York
tuart Davis (1892–1964), Town Square, c. 1929. Watercolor, gouache, ink, and pencil on paper, 15 1/2 × 22 7/8 in. (39.4 × 58.1 cm). The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; purchase 1930, The General Fund. © Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York

“The Mellow Pad” (1945-51) in the exhibition “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art.CreditMichael Nagle for The New York Times; All Rights Reserved, Estate of Stuart Davis /Licensed by VAGA, New York



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