STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)
STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)
STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)
STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)
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Modern American Masterworks from the Ted Shen Collection
STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)

Analogical Emblem

STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)
Analogical Emblem
signed 'Stuart Davis' (lower right)
gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper
15 1/4 x 22 1/4 in. (38.7 x 56.5 cm.)
Executed circa 1935.
The artist.
The Downtown Gallery, New York.
G. Davis Thompson, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, acquired from the above, 1935.
Donald Morris Gallery, Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. and Mrs. Irving F. Burton, Huntington Woods, Michigan, acquired from the above.
Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, 18 October 1972, lot 43, sold by the above (as Abstract of Smith’s Cove).
Private collection, New York, acquired from the above.
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1998.
A. Boyajian, M. Rutkoski, Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007, p. 618, no. 1214, illustrated.
New York, The Downtown Gallery, Exhibition of 14 Paintings by 14 American Contemporaries, March 12-30, 1935, no. 3.
Boston, Massachusetts, The Institute of Modern Art, Four Modern American Painters: Peter Blume, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, March 2-April 1, 1945, no. 22.
Detroit, Michigan, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Selections from the Collections of the Friends of Modern Art, May 1969, no. 40 (as Abstract of Smith’s Cove).
Gloucester, Massachusetts, Cape Ann Historical Museum; Wilmington, Delaware, Delaware Art Museum; New York, National Academy of Design, Stuart Davis in Gloucester, January 1, 1999-January 1, 2000, pp. 73, 122, pl. 42, illustrated (as Untitled).

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

Stuart Davis’ Analogical Emblem is the culmination of several sketches he recorded across two notebooks on a 1933 visit to Gloucester, Massachusetts. The work has also been known as Abstract of Smith’s Cove, relating the composition to the Gloucester site of the same name. Favoring color and perspective over realistic depictions, the work is a bustling image of coastal life—balancing abstracted planes and natural description, while retaining an overall sense of clarity owed to Davis’ keen attention to linear construction. Elements of this composition were later adapted into his famed 1938 mural Swing Landscape (Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana).

On a related drawing of the foreground dock dated August 26, 1933, Davis declared, “This drawing was made by impulse and observance of the adjacent angles only.” Perhaps explaining the title of the present work, immediately following a sketchbook page exploring the arrangement of pillars, ladders, and distant land, Davis summarized the “facts of painting” as “Visualize abstract area groups which have analogy to simple visual naturalism.” (as quoted in Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, pp. 278, 283, 287)

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