The Whitney Honours American Modernist Stuart Davis

In a special, large-scale exhibition titled Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, the Whitney Museum of American Art is honouring modern art legend Stuart Davis this summer. Known for creating visually arresting paintings capturing the spirit of early twentieth-century popular culture, Davis’ oeuvre stands as a stamp of modernity in a time when technological innovations in communication and transportation were quickly altering the face of America. His bold and brightly hued paintings range from abstracted urban landscapes of New York and Paris to images depicting everyday consumer objects like tobacco packaging, light bulbs, and mouthwash bottles.

He effectively blended the emerging hard-edged style of advertising with the conventions of avant-garde painting to create what curator Barbara Haskell calls a “rare synthesis.” In these still life images, which resemble the cubist paintings of Picasso and Braque, he abstracts the objects by paring down them down to their most basic forms, and arranging them in a unique composition to create interest. As his work evolved from the 1920s, when he first emerged as a household name, to the 1950s, he further narrowed down his colour palette to red, yellow, and green and enlarged his shapes, tapping into the abstract movement. Scroll through our gallery for a peak at the exhibition, but be sure to visit it yourself at The Whitney from June 10–September 25, 2016.