Waterfront Landscape

Media - 1972.80 - SAAM-1972.80_1 - 4277
Copied Stuart Davis, Waterfront Landscape, 1936, oil on canvas, 23 1830 14 in. (58.876.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1972.80

Artwork Details

Waterfront Landscape
Not on view
23 1830 14 in. (58.876.8 cm)
Credit Line
Transfer from the General Services Administration
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Abstract
  • Landscape — wharf
  • New Deal — Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project — New York City
Object Number

Artwork Description

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