From the Archives:101 Masterworks


The University of Iowa published an exhibition catalogue on the occasion of the 1986 exhibition 101 Masterworks. The catalogue was made possible by the generous support of The Friends of the Museum and the 1984 Art a la Carte Auction. The following is from the section about American artist Stuart Davis.

 

On July 7, 2020, Stanley Museum of Art Director Dr. Lauren Lessing revisited the painting during an Instagram Live presentation of Dive In with the Stanley. You can watch a recording of her discussion on IGTV.

 

From The University of Iowa Museum of Art:101 Masterworks

 

Stuart Davis (American, 1892–1964)
New York – Paris, No. 1, 1931
47 3/4 x 60 in. (121.29 x 152.4 cm)
University purchase, 1955.5

 

In his art Davis sought to synthesize French abstraction, the rhythm of American jazz, and the look of the billboard advertisements and neon lights of New York. In New York – Paris No. 1 these various elements are incorporated and echoed. Memories form patterns that are painted with insistent rhythms, and letters, a leg, receipts, and the profile of the Chrysler Building lose their traditional hierarchical status to participate in a strange new reality. Only the intimate Paris sidewalk café seem to retain its proper scale and balance. “I liked Paris the minute I got there,” Davis later reported. “Everything was humanized. The pressure of American anti-art was removed. You could starve to death quicker there, but you had the notion that the artist was a human being and not just a bum.” Quoted in Diane Kelder, Stuart Davis (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971).

 

Hobbs, Robert. “The University of Iowa Museum of Art: 101 Masterworks.” Iowa City: The University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1986. pg. 60.