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Waterfront Landscape

1936 Stuart Davis Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1892 Died: New York, New York 1964 oil on canvas 23 1/8 x 30 1/4 in. (58.8 x 76.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the General Services Administration 1972.80 Not currently on view

Gallery Label

Stuart Davis believed in the power of abstract art to make people more aware of the world around them. He was convinced that shapes, colors, and sounds taken from the real world and reimagined on canvas offered a new way of experiencing life. Davis was devoted to capturing the speed and energy of the Machine Age, and yet he spent his summers painting the quaint charms of Gloucester Harbor, a subject that artists had favored a hundred years before. It is as if he understood that abstract art was a "tough sell" to most Americans, and that the wharves, ships' rigging, and light buoys of Gloucester offered his viewers a way to get comfortable with abstract form and color. Different hues of blue evoke the crisp salt air of the harbor, while the hot reds, yellows, and oranges evoke the hustle and energy of fishing fleets returning from sea.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006



Landscape - wharf

New Deal - Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project - New York City


paint - oil

fabric - canvas