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Paul Davis (born 1938)
For Colored Girls, 1976
205.7 x 104.1 cm (81 x 41 in.)
© Paul Davis


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Biography of Paul Davis

Paul Davis was born in Centrahoma, Oklahoma, and earned a B.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he studied on a full scholarship. His teachers included Philip Hays, Robert Weaver, Tom Allen, Robert Shore, Howard Simon, George Tscherny, and Burt Hasen. In 1959 he became an apprentice at Push Pin Studios, where he was employed until 1962, when he left to do freelance work. Davis has taught at the School of Visual Arts and the University of Colorado. A painter as well as a graphic and poster artist, he has created a wide range of products, from illustrations for national magazines to book jackets and album covers.

Davis has won acclaim for his Viva la Huelga poster supporting César Chávez's United Farm Workers union and for a series of posters for the New York Shakespeare Festival. In designing the theater posters, Davis first paints a relatively small canvas that functions as a model for the final work. The posters were printed in a three-sheet size (42 x 84 inches) for display in New York subways. The demand for Davis's theater posters—not as advertisements but as art and collectibles—is met by printing one-sheet versions (23 x 46 inches) that are distributed throughout the country.

Davis does not seem to have been negatively affected by the need to satisfy the clients for his posters. In a published collection of these works, he states, "It is impossible for me anyway to follow a layout or an idea I don't like. Each of these paintings represents a sympathetic working relationship with an art director, editor, or client."

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