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1957 Gene Davis Born: Washington, District of Columbia 1920 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1985 oil on canvas 34 x 24 in. (86.4 x 61.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Florence Coulson Davis 1996.104.30 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 43B

Luce Center Quote

“Far from being narrow and confining, [the stripe] has an astonishing potential for breadth and complexity.” Davis, 1967, quoted in Naifeh, Gene Davis, 1982

Luce Center Label

This painting was one of Gene Davis’s earliest experiments with stripes, a form that he returned to many times during his career. During the 1950s, he joined in the abstract expressionist fever and created canvases covered with spontaneous, dynamic brushstrokes. He used stripes as a way of playing with color, applying bold strokes of paint rapidly to a dark, roughly brushed background. These dramatic lines evoke ribbons that have been pinned to the top of the canvas, their tails fluttering freely in the air.