Arthur B. Davies
“Figure in Glass, 1916-17 (printed 1929)
Museum purchase with funds from Lucie G. Nelson '77 PhD
Arthur B. Davies was already a well-established New York painter in his early fifties, known for his visionary, Arcadian landscapes, when he joined a few artist colleagues already Europe scouting work for an upcoming exhibition of the latest tendencies in European art being organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, of which he was president. That exhibition, which has gone down in history as the Armory Show—so-called for its first venue, a National Guard armory in New York City—opened in winter 1913 and introduced many of the most important figures of modern art to an American audience; it was met with great public curiosity and general critical derision.
For many artists, however, the work exhibited there was revelatory. Under its impact, Davies abandoned his Symbolist dreamscapes and for several years experimented with Cubism’s radical spatial syntax. Figure in Glass is perhaps the most successful of his Cubist prints. Its female figure, who grasps a mirror with her right hand, is subjected to the faceted surfaces and angular patterning typical of that style. This example is a posthumous print, pulled by Frank A. Nankivell (American, born Australia, 1869 – 1959) the year after the artist’s death.
This print is currently on view in the Main Gallery.
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